The quiet part is becoming very loud. Threats of left-wing political violence if President Trump is reelected have gone from subtext to the plain text. Writing at The Atlantic, Shadi Hamid warns of “mass unrest and political violence across American cities” if Trump wins. The Democrats are embracing their inner movie villain: It votes for Biden, or it gets the riots again.
Not that the rioting and related violence have stopped—from the attempted assassination of cops in Los Angeles to “mostly peaceful” protests in New York, the mayhem continues—but it is less intense than it was earlier in the summer. Now, prominent outlets of establishment liberalism are warning that the destruction can, and will, be turned up if the nation votes “incorrectly.”
The political extortion is not even hidden, with The Atlantic’s Hamid writing that a Trump win is “the outcome most likely to undermine faith in democracy, resulting in more of the social unrest and street battles that cities including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have seen in recent months. For this reason, strictly law-and-order Republicans who have responded in dismay to scenes of rioting and looting have an interest in Biden winning.” A stereotypical mob line such as “Nice place you got here, shame if anything were to happen to it” is subtle in comparison.
Even if we accept that Hamid is “truly worried” about his predictions, and we absolve him of threatening the nation with riots if we vote the wrong way, the menace of his article is unmistakable. Whether Hamid is personally culpable in his role as messenger is irrelevant. Even in decline, The Atlantic represents establishment liberalism; if it is publishing predictions of mass political violence from the left, then the Democratic mainstream is willing to countenance political violence if it does not get its way.