Americans are bracing for an election day unlike any in US history, overshadowed by a direct threat from Donald Trump of “violence on the streets” if the vote count is not cut short, stoking fears that democracy itself is at stake when the polls close on Tuesday night.
The president’s incendiary tweet, which was quickly labelled by Twitter as potentially misleading, was fired off amid a febrile atmosphere on the last night of his campaign, with reports of mobs of his supporters driving around the streets in flag-waving motorcades seeking to intimidate opponents, while business districts in major cities boarded up windows.[…]
The dark warnings from the president marked the conclusion of a campaign that was in many ways unprecedented.
It is the first election in which the incumbent president has said he would try to stop the vote count if early returns on election night show him to be ahead, and has openly encouraged acts of intimidation by his supporters.
It also set a record for early voting. More than 94 million Americans had already cast their ballots by Monday, in the midst of a pandemic. It was equivalent to 70% of the 2016 turnout even before election day dawned.
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