The Response: Cities Prepare for Election Day


The election this year was unlike any other, especially when it came to the anxiety surrounding the reactions to the election. There was already racial tension in the nation due to the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic, and the election only made this worse. Everyone expected chaos during this election while trying to prepare for the worst possible scenario that could be brought by the tension between the two parties.  

Voters are worried about the potential reactions of the election results. In a YouGov Poll, the sample was split into three different categories: registered voters, supporters of Joe Biden, and supporters of Donald Trump. When the researchers asked “How likely do you think it is that there will be mass protests if Donald Trump wins the 2020 presidential election,” each category had more than 50% percent of the people answering very likely. Another poll concluded that about three quarters of registered voters think that there will be post election violence no matter who wins the election. With such a huge split in politics, protests and violent reactions are bound to happen in response to the results.

In addition, there has been speculation of a civil war brewing after the election. According to The Washington Post, conservative media has been spreading the rumor that this election will cause a civil war. Even public political figures, including both candidates of the election, have voiced their concern over this potential threat to America’s future. The acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, stated that “White supremacist violent extremists have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks … [and] seek to force ideological change in the United States through violence, death, and destruction.” (Chad Wolf’s position as the Homeland Security Secretary is still being questioned by the political left.) The bipartisan divide that stemmed from this election has spread fear within the citizens, making them feel unsafe.

As a response to these expectations, businesses have taken measures to protect their property from the foreseen violence. The scenery of major cities now is much different than what you typically see. There are no more display windows in front of stores. Instead, wooden boards, some with political spray paint messages, are in its place. The election has caused a lot of anxiety within the retail industry. Big retail companies, such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, are taking precautions towards the potential protests that could occur after the election. Another big worry for those in this industry is that “Retailers can risk alienating their customers by erecting plywood, particularly if the anticipated unrest does not materialize” (Corkery, Maheshwari 2020). However, without this protection, not only retailers, but cities themselves could become victims of the chaos and many citizens would be affected. 

Many local officials have also prepared for these situations in order to prevent violence and voter intimidation. With the addition of COVID-19 during this election, officials have a greater burden to keep voters safe while they are voting. Many political figures on both local and state levels are working together to ensure voter safety. State Attorney Generals around the country are using “soft power” “by issuing statements and holding repeated news conferences to stress their demands for safety, sending a strong signal to law enforcement” (Greenblatt 2020). States have also been given the right to ban paramilitary units that promote voter intimidation by the Supreme Court. Officials are trying their best to keep voters safe.

As of now, after the election result was announced, the bipartisan divide has become even more prominent in our country due to this election. The split reaction between the two parties towards Biden’s victory can be seen throughout the country. While in Lansing, Michigan Trump supporters are spotted in their red hats protesting the results of this election and demanding a recount, in Washington D.C., people are holding LGBTQ flags, Biden flags, and American flags, standing on top of a metro station in celebration (Combs 2020). This huge difference between how groups of people reacted to the election result clearly depicts the tension between the two parties in our country today.

Even with the election over, the tension within politics is still apparent. Bipartisanship in the United States has become an idea that provokes mistrust in those who do not share the same political beliefs. Through this election, the danger of the deep political divide within our country has been revealed. The U.S.A. is no longer a country where opinions can be freely expressed, instead people are being scrutinized based on their political opinion and taking extreme measures to ensure their party is victorious.