“We hope that everything will go well, but we must prepare for the worst”: this is what Sean Eldridge, one of the organizers of a coalition which is preparing demonstrations across the United States, explains. case where “Donald Trump would try to discredit the results of the poll or refuse to recognize his possible defeat.
On several occasions, Donald Trump has refused to say whether he will hand over power peacefully if he is defeated in the presidential election on November 3.
He hinted that only massive fraud – which he claims without proof would be made possible by the increased use of postal voting because of the pandemic – could prevent him from winning, raising concerns over a peaceful handover of the vote. power even in his own camp.
“It’s unheard of in American political history to worry about whether a sitting president will accept the verdict of the ballot box and ensure a peaceful transition of power,” Sean Eldridge, 34, told AFP. former Democratic candidate for Congress in New York State.
He was one of the leaders of the American movement for the legalization of same-sex marriage before founding the anti-Trump organization “Stand Up America”.
“I never imagined having to do such a job. But we have to take (Trump) at his word when he says he might not accept the results “because” everything he has done in the past three and a half years shows his complete disrespect for democratic standards, “he says. he.
In a country that recently emerged from monster demonstrations against racial inequalities that followed the death of African-American George Floyd under the knee of a police officer at the end of May, the “job” is to prepare new rallies pretty much everywhere
The “Protect the Results” coalition, of which Mr. Eldridge is one of the leaders, had this week laid the groundwork for nearly 250 “rallies”, from Las Vegas to New York, from Maine to Florida.
“Protect the results” brings together more than 100 organizations – including environmental defense, women’s rights or gay rights, and at least one organization of anti-Trump Republicans – representing “several tens of millions of members,” said -he.
If the exact locations of the protests in gestation remain to be specified, potential participants are warned that the mobilization could begin at 5:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. GMT) on November 4.
Risk of violence?
With the volume of mail-in or anticipated ballots, “we have to be prepared that it may take days or more before we know who won the election. And we have to make sure that the Americans react swiftly to any pressure Trump may exert to undermine the results, ”Mr. Eldridge said.
For his part, the US president called on his supporters to be prepared to “observe very carefully” what is happening in the polling stations to report any attempted fraud.
His campaign launched a website to mobilize his supporters, called upon to perform “classic” tasks such as knocking on voters’ doors, but some were concerned about the name chosen for this site, “Army for Trump” (“an army for Trump “), And the president’s refusal to denounce certain extreme right-wing groups, such as the Proud Boys, whom he even called to” be ready “.
In this context, are clashes possible? According to anonymous FBI officials recently quoted by the Washington Post, the federal police are paying “particular attention” this year to the possibility of unrest, and will have teams on the lookout for any incident, ready to respond. New York police officials have also said they are preparing for possible post-election protests.
Sean Eldridge assures us that the coalition will not budge if Trump wins “clearly”, without “serious interference” with the results. “We all hope we don’t have to mobilize,” he says.
And if they were to be triggered, the protests would be “non-violent”, he assures us, before adding: “But we will not be intimidated by the dangerous rhetoric and violence that we see on the other side” .