With polls showing a neck-and-neck race between President Biden and Former President Trump in 2024, parallels to the 2020 election are drawing attention. Could a close race in 2024 lead to a repeat of January 6th or something similar? Americans took to the internet to give their perspective.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
Different but the Same
There are some clear differences between 2020 and 2024, namely that Trump is no longer in the White House. But, in a nation with growing polarization, it seems like much of the country is bound to be upset with the election results. This leads many to believe that the US is in for some instability come November 2024.
Pray For Bigger Margins
As one commenter put it, “Unless the margins are relatively big, there will just be more questions and accusations. [The] only way to combat it is to ensure everything is above board, and be prepared to conduct recounts, and stand firm when a decision is made.”
Big Biden Win
A few thought a big win for Biden was almost a certainty, making any signs of instability less likely. “Given that it’s almost certain Trump is going to be the nominee again, Biden will kick his teeth in and win by an even larger margin this time around,” said one.
Don’t Be So Sure
Others weren’t so sure of that. “Biden is not as solid as people here think he is,” one person pointed out. “People don’t like his age, they don’t like inflation, they don’t like the Afghanistan withdrawal, they want tighter immigration policy, many are getting tired of Ukraine, he will also be hit with hunter Biden drama, etc.”.
A Horse Race
Unfortunately, a big margin win seems unlikely for either candidate. Recent polls suggest the race is going to be incredibly close, and that means there could be problems. Many said the problems would only be significant, though, if Trump loses.
As one person said, the country would be looking at “a situation where you have a mass of GOP voters who, should Trump lose, feel like they’ve been cheated twice.” They and several other commenters weren’t convinced that the nation would be able to avoid a January 6th-like event in that scenario.
Unless He Concedes
Others believed that any instability could be avoided if the losing candidate conceded right away. “I think the major contributing factor, the only significant factor, was Trump refusing to concede [the 2020 election],” said one person. “Provided the Republican nominee behaves so poorly again, there will be instability again.”
Many thought it was unlikely that Trump would easily admit defeat. “Trump needs this win to stay out of prison- at least so he believes. When he loses, he’s going to take it to the most extreme he’s capable of,” comments one person.
The MAGA Base
Several thought that Trump wouldn’t have to do much to incite violence amongst his base. “I think that sense of lack of power by their base will lead to an increase in right-wing terror attacks and losers cosplaying civil war with real-life consequences,” one person theorized.
Fewer People, More Problems
“I think a smaller percentage of Trump voters will be suckered by election fraud lies,” said another commenter. “But those who do fall for the lies (or just don’t care that Trump lost) will be more dangerous than ever.”
Times Have Changed
Others think 2024 is unlikely to result in another insurrection, regardless of who wins. “There’s not going to be another Jan 6 because the sitting president is going to have Washington DC armed to the teeth,” one person noted. “That same president is also going to instruct his Department of Justice to take the protection of polling places & personnel all across the country extremely seriously.”
A few pointed out that those involved in January 6th faced significant consequences, including prison time. “That will serve as a major deterrent for these people. It’s also why there hasn’t been any major violence after Trump has gotten indicted,” one person said.
Fewer Mail-In Ballots
“How has no one mentioned mail-in ballots?” one person asked late in the discussion. “They will almost certainly be way less prominent in 2024. This means we get a result the day of. The extended time to count ballots in 2020 caused a lot of headaches and added fuel to the conspiracy fires.”
Several people also pointed out that Congress has changed the certification process. In 2020, one representative and one senator could object to a state’s electoral votes. Now, it would take 87 representatives and twenty senators to make an objection.
Some thought the hype around Trump and his supporters was overplayed, making fears about a January 6th repeat unwarranted. “To me, it feels like Trump’s grip on the whole public has been weakening for a while now,” one person said. “Way more moderate people are writing him off, I don’t think 2024 is gonna be as close as people think.”
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