President Trump has said explicitly and repeatedly that he will not relinquish power and that the only way he could lose is if the election were rigged. He is already attempting to subvert the election by spreading the narrative that election fraud is widespread, encouraging Republican states to suppress votes of Biden supporters, inciting his base to intimidate Biden supporters, and threatening to seize ballots under the guise of being “fraudulent”.
Here’s what could happen on or after election day:
● Republican controlled states could certify Trump electors despite the fact that the popular vote in the state was not in Trump’s favor.
● Trump could refuse to concede the election.
● Litigation over the election could go to the Supreme Court where a 6 to 3 majority of conservative justices award the election to Trump.
● Under the constitution, a disputed election could end up in the House of Representatives which settles the election, with each state having one vote. Despite Biden getting more of the popular vote, Trump is awarded a second term.
Our only goal is to prevent Trump and his followers from subverting the election. We must prevent them from suppressing the vote, seizing ballots, or sending law enforcement or militias to interfere with the voting process, the counting of votes, or the process of certifying electors.
The first and most important thing you can do is vote!
As of this writing, more than 50 million people have voted. Join them as soon as you can.
Find out when you can vote in your state here: https://www.businessinsider.com/when-is-early-voting-in-each-state-2020-8
If Trump prevails by getting the Republican controlled states to award electors despite Biden winning the popular vote in that state, it will be a coup. In that event, nonviolent resistance will be necessary.
Non-Violent Resistance is the most successful way to stop a coup. It is twice as likely to succeed as campaigns that resort to violence. The most successful form of resistance involves massive numbers of people and organizations taking action. General strikes and mass civil disobedience are more effective than simply demonstrating. There must be actions that engage a huge proportion of the population and motivate segments of the wealthy and powerful to support the movement.
Examples of The Success of Nonviolent Resistance
● Gandhi’s leadership in India-began with “Salt March,” protesting British monopoly on salt-making. It led to years of marches, strikes, and refusals by Indians to obey British rule. As a result Indians gained independence from Britain.
● Ending of apartheid in South Africa-internationally supported liberation movement. Economic and political boycott. U.S and Great Britain approved economic sanctions against South Africa. Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders organized a Defiance Campaign consisting of demonstrations, strikes, entering forbidden areas without permits, violating “European only” regulations at railway stations, burning passes and breaking curfew laws.
● Ending of communist rule in Poland- Polish Solidarity Movement-consisted of workers committed to civil disobedience, strikes, and nonviolent resistance against heavily militarized government forces. A key reason for their success was Solidarity’s use of “underground education.” Ewa Kulik, a solidarity leader said, “We had to produce the papers and the books and distribute them. We had to put together a whole network identifying printing machines that had not been confiscated, finding people who could operate them, and organizing the distribution network.” The analogous thing in the current era is social media. (However, progressives aren’t making as much use of them as the right wing.)
● Civil rights movement in the United States-non-violence was the major factor in success of movement.
Principles of Non-Violence
The following is a distillation of the Philosophy and Practice of Nonviolence of Dr. Martin Luther King that was created by the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment
● Our attitude will be one of openness and respect toward all we encounter in our actions.
● We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any person.
● We will not destroy or damage any property.
● We will carry no weapons.
● We will not bring any drugs or alcohol.
● If participating in a nonviolent direct action, such as civil disobedience, we will not run or resist arrest; we will remain accountable for our actions as a means of furthering our witness to injustice.
● Additionally, we require that all individuals considering participation in a nonviolent direct action take appropriate nonviolence training.
Resources on Nonviolence
To learn more about nonviolent resistance, here are some resources.
● The Power and Potential of Nonviolent Struggle-Gene Sharp-(58:24) Gene Sharp is American political scientist who founded the Albert Einstein Institution, which is a nonprofit dedicated to the study of nonviolent action.
● NAACP-NVR Training(16:51) Great practical information for protests (safety, what to do if arrested, first aid, what to bring, etc) It also discusses the morality of nonviolent resistance.
● These websites have information and updates on training, organizing, and how to organize an event in your area if there aren’t any.
According to Gene Sharp, who “founded the academic field of nonviolent resistance,” power depends on the consent of the general population. By withdrawing consent and engaging in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, the general population has the power to prevail. This is why we must engage and mobilize every sector of society. Indeed, some of the most persuasive events will be when organizations that most people would not expect to speak up, do so.
Fortunately, a coalition of organizations is already forming to prevent interference with the election and to resist attempts by Trump to overturn the election. An article in The New Yorker, by Lizzie Widdicombe, describes these efforts.
- Here are two organizations. We urge you to sign up with them. That will lend your name to them and will allow them to let you know what is happening
The next 60 days may be the best opportunity you will ever have to make a difference for your country. You can join millions of others in speaking up for the basic principles of our democracy. We believe that the full participation of every person is fundamental to building a society that works for everyone.
This essay was created by Amy Impson, Ania Young, Jan Swenson, & Tony Biglan