Mike “Wompus” Nieznany, 73, is a Vietnam vet who strolls with a cane due to battle wounds sustained during his provider. Nieznany’s disability does not prevent him from working at home in Gainesville, Georgia, selling specially made motorcycle roof racks.
It also didn’t slow him down when it comes the season to travel Washington, D.C.—he’ll be heavily armed and prepared to play his part in ousting the U.S. authorities.
Millions of other would-be subversives will also be present, creating a “ticking bomb” aimed at the Capitol, according to Nieznany. “There are a lot of completely armed citizens who are starting to wonder what’s happening in this country,” he says.
“Are we heading to let Biden continue to wreck it? Is it necessary to get rid of him? We’ll only take so much before we start fighting back.” He says that the 2024 election could be the tipping point.
Nieznany is no longer alive. His political statements on Quora’s social networking site did receive 44,000 viewpoints during the first two weeks of November, more than 4 million in total.
He is one of several rank-and-file Republicans who own guns and have openly discussed a need to depose—by force if needed federal govt they see as invalid, overbroad, and destructive to Freedom in recent times.
The phenomenon extends well beyond the proliferation of militia groups, which have been a part of American life because the Ku Klux Klan took power following the Civil War.
The number of members of groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, which participated in the January 6 violent protest at the Capitol and may have done organizational play roles, has grown. Police forces have long pursued and frequently managed to infiltrate these organizations.
Nieznany symbolizes something altogether separate: a much larger and more dispersed motion of mostly ordinary people, fueled by misleading information, linked by social media, and quite well.
In 2020, 17 million Americans purchased 40 million firearms, with some other 20 million on the way in 2021. If past patterns continue, the purchasers will be predominantly white, Republican, and from the south or rural.
The huge but mostly Republican gun-rights motion in America coincides with an increasing belief among many Republicans that the national govt is an invalid dictatorship that must be deposed by any reasonable means.
That explosive combination increases the risk of carrying weapons, large-scale threats all-around 2024 presidential race that could end up making the January 6 insurgency look like a toothless stunt in contrast.
“The notion that people would take up arms vs. an American election has gone from highly unbelievable to something we need to start making plans for and getting ready for,” says Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who specializes in gun laws and constitutional principles.
Democrats and Republicans alike are starting to lose faith in the honesty of American elections. Democrats are concerned that voter suppression and election meddling by Republican state authorities will reject millions of Americans the ability to vote at the polls.
IN Mid – November, a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found that voter suppression was viewed as the most major threat to U.S. elections by 55 percent of Democrats. Republicans say — in contrast to proof, that Democrats have also already rigged vote tallies to grab a presidential race.
According to a CNN survey conducted in October, over three-quarters of Republicans think Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win was dishonest.
According to the Constitution, Congress and the Supreme Court are presumed to resolve such disputes. Given the growing ferocity and polarization of national politics, will either side recognize a decision that has given the other side a disputed 2024 result of the election?
A choice of this magnitude would almost certainly result in tens of millions of demonstrators and counter-protesters taking to the streets, particularly all around the United States Capitol and potentially numerous state capitols, throwing the world into chaos.
Even though many Democrats may be willing to hold rallies, a larger proportion of Republican demonstrators would almost definitely be armed.
If the Supreme Court rules in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which is anticipated in expected to hit, that there is an unrestrained correct to carry a firearm anywhere in the country, going to bring assault weapons to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. could be completely lawful.
“The Supreme Court may be on the verge of releasing the court’s decision that did lead to the ousting of the United States government,” had said Winkler.
If deadly conflicts explode during the 2024 election results, it may drop to the U.S. army, which may be hesitant to use force against U.S. residents.
In that particular instance, the country’s destiny could be decided by a mere truth: a huge segment of one of the two parties has been methodically militarising itself for years for this very purpose.
“I keep hoping it’s just too completely bonkers to occur here,” has said Erica De Bruin, an associate professor of administration at Hamilton College who analyses coups worldwide. “But it’s currently in the domain of the reasonable.”
Opponent at the Gates
Various Republicans progressively see themselves as tyrannized survivors of the federal govt, rather than residents defined by it.
In a recent Grinnell College poll conducted in October, more than three-quarters of Republicans noted “lower confidence” in the federal government, while only a minority of Democrats agreed.
According to this viewpoint, peaceable election results can not save the day. According to the Grinnell survey, more than two-thirds of Republicans believe that democracy is under invasion, echoing the findings of a CNN poll conducted in September. Half quite so many Democrats agree.
Mainstream media organizations are packed with yelps of uproar over horrific political acts committed by Congressional republicans who represent the party’s popular beliefs.
However, tiny newspapers in sparsely populated, rural districts, which are the heart of the Republican Party’s ranks, are echoing a simpler message: Politics is dead; it’s time for war. “Wake up, America!” screamed a September opinion article in The Gaston Gazette, predicated in Gastonia, N.C.
“The enemy has arrived at our doors; God willing, it is not too early to stem the advancing tidal wave of this dark government.” The piece includes a quotation from Thomas Paine’s admonishment to previous experience working to take up arms against the British.
“We are in a civil conflict,” cautioned a letter published in New Mexico Sun in September, “among conventional Americans and those that want to impose communism in this nation and therefore enabled service govt control of its residents.”
Evidence is mounting that a sizable proportion of Republicans are willing and ready to turn to violence against public and government enemies.
According to a Reuters inquiry released in October, over 100 violent dangers, many more of the hateful comments, were leveled at election workers and poll workers in battleground states in 2020, with all danger recognized as Trump fans.
In October 2020, 13 men were billed with planning to imprison Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat; all were conservative rights.
According to a September survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute, a quasi organization well, almost one-third of Republicans believe that “real American loyalists may have to turn to violence and save our country.” That’s more than three times the number of Democrats who thought the same thing.
Guns are increasingly becoming a necessary component of the formula. “Americans wielding guns in public rooms, wakened by things they disagree with politically or by a citizen has a right,” concludes an August essay in the Northwestern University Law Review.
There were plenty of pistols when thousands of anti-COVID-precaution violent protesters collected at the Michigan State Capitol in May 2020. Some violent rebels tried to enter the Capitol chamber.
Those who bring weapons to a protest may have pure intentions in hypothesis, but there are numerous reasons to believe or else.
Everytown for Gun Safety and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) did a study in October that glanced at 560 demonstrations that included armed attendees over 18 months thru the mid-2021 and discovered that one-sixth of them turned to violence, with some resulting in casualties.
The Republican response to the January 6 insurgency at the United States Capitol is one piece of evidence of how far Republicans are willing to go out in violently fighting the government.
Republicans, for the most part, see nothing wrong with a gaggle of hundreds swarming and trying to force their way into the seat of the U.s. government.
According to a CBS/YouGov survey done shortly after the insurgency, half of Republicans had said the mob was “protecting freedom.”
According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in October, two-thirds of Republicans now believe it was not a strike at all. “There has been little responsibility for that insurgency,” UCLA’s Winkler has said. “Ever since, the right-wing discourse has only gotten severe.”
When it comes to helping violence against the authorities, most Republican leaders are careful, but not all.
Recently departed Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a polarizing figure who continues to thrive among the many Republicans, allegedly told a raucous crowd of Trump fans in October that if and when a “severe” insurgency erupts, “there’s very little you’re going to able to do now.”
Georgia Spokesperson Marjorie Taylor Greene, some other top Republican popular among the ranks, said the January 6 subversives were doing what Declaration of Independence instructs real Americans to do: they were attempting to “topple tyrants.”
She went on to say that the real threat to democracy is the presence of Black Lives Matter demonstrators and Democratic “Marxist-communist” representatives. Greene and Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina have referred to some insurgents as “political dissidents.”
Trump, of course, has fostered a persistent undertone of conflict between many of his followers since the start of his first campaign for president.
He openly declared in 2016 that he could fire someone in the road without having lost political backing. He welcomed rallygoers to attack protesters and reporters.
When demonstrators were hauled away from a protest in Miami, Trump threatened that “upcoming time I’ll be more aggressive.”
He publicly made complaints to the crowd of people at a 2016 rally in Las Vegas that safety wasn’t being harsh even on a protester those who were trying to remove. “I’ll tell you what, I’d like to poke him in the face,” he stated. “
Presently, Trump publicly proclaims the rioters of January 6 to be “wonderful people.” In October, he recommended that Republicans not bother to vote in the 2022 or 2024 election results because they are worried about vote-rigging in 2020.
Simultaneously, he proclaimed that he would accomplish a “much more great victory in November 2024.” The idea that Republicans could abandon polling stations while trying to sweep Trump to victory makes sense if only Trump imagines a quest for power that does not necessitate votes.
Republicans support such rhetoric. According to an October Quinnipiac survey, while 94 percent of Democrats believe Trump diminishes democratic institutions, 85 percent of Republicans believe he protects it.
Where Are the Pistols?
“The British Are Arriving,” author Rick Atkinson’s lauded heritage of the early years of the American Revolution, tries to explain one primary reason why America became the first British colony to prosper in having won Freedom where others had failed.
“The Americans were armed to the teeth,” he notes, “unlike with the Irish and other conquered peoples.” He says that muskets were “as prevalent as kettles” among colonists, and American infantry is amongst the world’s best sharpshooters.
That ownership and talent with firearms, coupled with the settlers’ deep desire to rid themselves of what they saw as an oppressive government, would help to carry the day only against formidable probability.
Presently, numerous Republicans who have persuaded themself that they, too, must overthrow an oppressive regime have an abundance of firearms. According to the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, the United States owns approximately 400 million firearms.
Republicans own the large bulk of those firearms. Gallup discovered that half of all Republicans own weapons, nearly triple the rate of firearms ownership between many Democrats.
Firearm owners are largely male and white, and they are more likely to be living in rural areas than in urban areas. Those demographics are perfectly aligned with the most ardent supporters of the Republican Party.
Firearms sales have skyrocketed in the last two years. According to Harvard and Northeastern University studies, approximately 17 million people, or more than 6% of the inhabitants, purchased 40 million firearms in 2020 alone.
According to gun-industry research company Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, selling for 2021 is on track to grow by some other 20 million.
While statistics suggest that Democrats are increasing their moderate share of firearms sales, history would suggest that the large bulk of these guns are heading to Republicans.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll, Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters were more than twice as probable as Democrats to own a weapon.
Recently departed Iowa Representative Steve King, who has long been recognized for several Republicans are starting to think, believes his group is better prepared.
In 2019, he wrote on Facebook, “People always talk about that other civil war.” “One side has approximately 8 trillion bullets. Who do you think will win?”
The Republican pulses for the violent insurgency are partly fueled by the primarily Republican gun-rights motion and vice versa. That is a comparatively recent occurrence.
Conservatives have long fought for the right to own a firearm, even though it has never posed a significant danger to democracy. However, this is changing rapidly.
According to a Gallup survey from 2000, 60 percent of firearm owners purchased guns for hunting. Many others listed “athletics,” which usually refers to target taking shots.
However, by 2016, 63 percent of people said they purchased guns for self-defense. Burgeoning paranoid delusions precipitated that transition regarding street violence and violent protests.
This fear was continuously hyped up on Fox and other right-wing news organizations, which have long conjured up the idea that urban gang members and other malcontents are progressively running amok through suburban areas and even beyond.
Over the last four years, those fears have manifested themselves as anti-government, pro-Trump, and, in some instances, white nationalist movement patterns.
“We’ve already seen the emergence of a new perspective on gun ownership, one that emphasizes the essentiality of owning firearms to combat a tyrannical regime,” has said Winkler.
“The publicity of that idea has increased the likelihood that some people are going to come to see the govt as a tyrant and in need of ousting.”
The way that results in anti-deep-state weapon radicalization can be heard on Republican-dominated social media and other communication channels.
The firearms industry did not invent the association between owning guns and an impending nationalistic armed rebellion, but it has exacerbated it. A 2020 essay on the website of AZ Big Media, Arizona’s biggest business news publishing company, advised viewers as follows: “If you’ve been thinking about getting a gun, now is the period.”
Please don’t put it off until after the presidential campaign. We don’t know what’s coming, but irrespective as to who is elected, the violence and chaos are likely to worsen.”
Palmetto State Armory, a Columbia, South Carolina-based gun-parts manufacturer and retailer, states on their website, “Our task is to maximize freedom, not our profits.”
We want to sell quite so many AR-15 and AK-47 rifles as possible and put them into prevalent use in Modern America,” he says, going to add that doing so “protects the people’s rights against tyrannical.”
According to a 2019 Drew University study, one of four gun manufacturers’ most-viewed YouTube videos triggered patriotism. “There’s a profit motive feeding that sense of requiring guns to defend against by the government,” tells Risa Brooks, a Marquette University, political science professor.
The National Rifle Association was instrumental in popularising the “possess firearms to defend America from leftist dictatorship” theme.
“If the leftist media brings fear and panic to our societies, neighborhoods, or homes, they will be managed to meet with the fortitude, strength, and full power of Freedom in the palms of the American people,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said this in 2017.
That year, an NRA spokesman blasted Trump’s critics, saying, “Only one way we stop this, the only thing we save our nation and our liberty, is to battle this violence of untruths with the closed fist of truth.”
There was no doubt of what that fist would be squeezing. The NRA also promoted the idea that Nazi guns laws aimed at Jews were a powerful catalyst of the Holocaust.
Scholars have repeatedly debunked that assertion, but Trump’s city development secretariat, Ben Carson, has publicly linked gun legislation to the Holocaust.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has also clearly related gun ownership to combating governmental threats, claiming that guns “end up serving as the final check against governmental tyrannical.”
Trump himself alluded to the bleakest of links between owning guns and destabilizing a Democrat-led govt in his first presidential election campaign, suggesting that the “Second Amendment people” might be able to prevent Hillary Clinton if she managed to win.
How It Might Move Down
What would possibly lead to large-scale armed threats or even violence around the 2024 elections? There may additionally be solely one slim route to keeping off it: Trump’s comfortable, incontestable win, assuming he is the Republican candidate.
Democrats would possibly despair at a loss. However, it is now not probable that they will go into mass protests in opposition to what should be viewed as a respectable election win.
But if Trump loses through any margin and is unable to overturn the effects via criminal or political means, it appears in all likelihood Republicans will declare the election fraudulent.
In 2020, the conviction—against all evidence—that Trump had the presidency stolen from him delivered an insurrectionist mob to the U.S. Capitol. The mob used to be in general unarmed, absolutely thanks to Washington D.C.’s strict gun-control laws.
In 2024, that type of mob, which will have been fed for 4 years on false claims of a “Big Steal” and appeals to combat lower back towards tyranny, will probably be far, away from larger.
If the Supreme Court weakens gun-control laws, they will additionally probable be closely armed.
In addition to Washington, D.C., the ACLED file determined that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon face the greatest threat of armed uprisings in contested elections, accompanied by North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, California, and New Mexico.
But rapidly after the January 6 insurrection, the FBI warned that all 50 nation capitols had been at risk. “There has been a latest and worrisome effort to body displaying up with weapons as a terrific way to mission an election result you do not like,” says Marquette’s Brooks.
Suppose Trump wins, however, with the aid of a small margin that Democrats can attribute to Republican legal guidelines and systems to suppress Democratic votes. In that case, big protests around the united states are inevitable.
Democrats may not have to stretch their imaginations to make that claim: In 2021, forty-three states proposed extra than 250 legal guidelines limiting vote casting access.
Georgia slashed the wide variety of ballot boxes, an exercise nearly continually aimed at communities with excessive percentages of minority residents. Iowa closed down most early voting.
Arkansas upped the requirement for voter I.D. And Utah made it less difficult to purge voters from its lists selectively.
Suppose Trump loses on votes. However, the loss is overturned by using the moves of partisan kingdom election officials. In that case, legislatures or governors in key battleground states, and that reversal is included using a Republican Congress or the Supreme Court; protests are once more inevitable.
And again, that type of reversal is some distance from implausible: There are 23 states where Republicans manage each the legislature and the governorship, consisting of quite a few battleground states.
In 2022 Republicans obtain management of three different key states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Any kingdom managed by using one celebration is precisely to strive to overturn an election vote, as Trump and many Republicans advised country officers to do in 2020.
“We’ve viewed a vogue of Republican governors and legislatures appointing celebration officers extra inclined to declare voter scam and offering themselves greater strength to sabotage elections at a neighborhood level,” states Hamilton College’s De Bruin.
America has been stepping by step for different reasons, losing on the extensively referred to Freedom in the world rating nations via how democratic they are.
The U.S. has fallen from the enterprise of large, Western European international locations to cease up nowadays alongside Ghana and Mongolia.
Whatever the situations that would possibly deliver on large-scale protests from Democrats in 2024, their presence in the streets should convey out armed Republican counter-protesters bent on defending Trump’s little win and, in their minds, defending democracy towards left-wing mobs.
“It’s an honest situation that If Trump known as on them to come out and suppress the mobs, they may respond,” says Lindsay Cohn, partner professor of country-wide safety affairs at the U.S. Naval War College.
Nieznany, the Vietnam vet, insists that if Democratic protests consist of violence, as was once the case with numerous Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 in ordinarily remoted instances, then right-wing counter-protesters will be justified in shooting. “Rocks, bottles, and bricks can kill you as quick as a bullet will,” he says.
That’s the kind of common sense that in August 2020 delivered Kyle Rittenhouse and his AR-15-style rifle to a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the place he shot three protesters, killing two, claiming self-defense. A jury acquitted him of all charges.
Based on their protests in current years, police forces can be counted on for a robust response in opposition to the Democratic protesters.
The ACLED determined that the police used pressure in Black Lives Matter protests greater than 1/2 the time, however solely a 0.33 of the time at right-wing demonstrations. In any case, few police forces are organized to successfully come to grips with tens of heaps of armed protesters.
Join the Military
If the police are unable or unwilling to deal with an armed rebellion, the National Guard and army are likely to be the last optimism for a peaceful settlement. Only the county executive of a state can activate the National Guard, and that only the president can implement the army.
To have sent in the army to quell disruptions on American soil, the president must elicit the Insurrection Act, which was last in use by then-President George H. W. Bush in 1992 to try and restore order in the Los Angeles rioting and looting.
Joe Biden would almost certainly still be chairman at the start of election-based violence, so that if the National Guard has been unable to calm it down in one or more states—or if a county executive failed to call in the Guard—the decision would necessarily fall on Biden’s shoulders.
He would not need help from the state legislature to do it. “In those situations, it would be a perfectly valid position for the American military,” has said Kori Schake, general manager of foreign and defense policy research at the American Enterprise Institute.
The National Guard or army will almost definitely be successful in stopping the worst of the conflict and safeguarding the legislature. However, two critical questions are raised: Would military commanders follow Biden’s commands to deploy vs. an armed revolt?
And, if it does, will the rating and file obey their commanders’ commands to pick up arms against fellow Citizens whose motivating factors may be similar to most of their own?
According to Brooks, the high command is still shaken by the uproar that erupted after Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, preceded Trump to a photo session throughout Lafayette Square that was forcefully cleared peaceful demonstrators in June 2020.
“They’ll be hesitant to get engaged,” she predicts. “The military swears an oath of allegiance, not a specific president.” She keeps adding that Biden, too, is inclined to view calling in the army as a very last resort.
But, she has said, if the future looks bleak and Biden appears to be warranted in making a call, the governance will conform, regardless of their reservations.
Cohn of the Naval War College believes it is highly improbable that the Guard or military background and file will reject commands to pick up arms against carrying weapons Trump fans.
“There’s not a great deal of evidence that the rating and file are firmly behind Trump,” she had said. “But, different beliefs, they are extremely professional. Only a small percentage would reject.”
She notes that Trump worked very hard to coincide with the ranks, despite his distance from top commanders.
And although’s Former National Security Advisor and former Army General Michael Flynn were publicly advocating for the army to take authority of the government at the moment; there was very little sign of overt assistance from the rank and file when Trump was whipping up mobs in January to endorse his unfounded accusations of vote-rigging.
In the absence of a massive reaction from some mixture of police, National Guard, and army, it’s simple to see how Republicans could largely take over the country based solely on their huge armory.
“Both sides may be equitably reassured of the illegality of the other’s behavior,” Winkler has said. “The capable of inflicting violence is highly skewed.”
Let’s hope it never comes to that and that a fairly peaceful resolution to what is sure to be a controversial, hotly contested election occurs. However, that outcome is not guaranteed.
Although any conflict ends before it progresses too far, a near-miss could leave our already weak democratic institutions even weaker and more susceptible. It’s difficult to say how much it would cost to repair it.
When he says it’s too late, Nieznany may be speaking for millions. “There are far too many of us willing to give our lives to reclaim our country,” he has said. “We require a civil war.”
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