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Tipsheet

Journalistic Extortion: Atlantic Column Promises More Riots and Looting if Biden Doesn't Win

AP Photo/Noah Berger

The Atlantic has published yet another desperate attempt to stop President Trump from being reelected, this time assuring readers that unless Biden wins his bid for the White House, the riots and chaos will continue. 

The political magazine, which has long been entrenched with left-leaning writers and editors, has more recently bent into full activism. Editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg published an article last week claiming that the president referred to deceased members of the United States military as "suckers" and "losers," in addition to several other incendiary claims about Trump's demeanor. 

Goldberg has been on the receiving end of sharp criticism since that time, mainly because his entire foundation for the report was based on four anonymous sources who claimed to be present or have knowledge of the president making such remarks back in 2018. None of Goldberg's sources have come forward to claim ownership of the remarks. 

However, more than 20 on-the-record sources, both supports of Trump and detractors, like John Bolton, have insisted that the president never said anything of the sort. 

The Atlantic has stood by that story and now an op-ed is keeping the anti-Trump rhetoric going by promising that unless Biden wins, voters can expect to continue watching their cities burn to the ground. 

Opinion columnist Shadi Hamid claims that while he doesn't believe that Trump is actually a threat to the nation, he feels that those that loathe him would be so emotionally disturbed by an electoral loss that he can't predict how they might behave. 

Out of this fear, he said, Republican voters who truly care about restoring law and order could only vote for Biden if they want the carnage to stop. 

As someone who has argued against catastrophism—I don’t believe Donald Trump is a fascist or a dictator in the making, and I don’t believe America is a failed state—I find myself truly worried about only one scenario: that Trump will win reelection and Democrats and others on the left will be unwilling, even unable, to accept the result.

A loss by Joe Biden under these circumstances is the worst case not because Trump will destroy America (he can’t), but because it 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—even if they could never bring themselves to vote for him.

Hamid painted a scenario in which Trump couldn't possibly win reelection unless 1) the Russians interfered or 2) he once again lost the popular vote, only to be constitutionally elected to the nation's highest office. Under these circumstances, the nation should expect a revolution, he said. 

Accepting the things that never should have happened is far more difficult. A certain kind of cognitive dissonance—the gap between what is and what should be—can fuel revolutionary sentiment, and not just in a fluffy, radical-chic kind of way. In such situations, acting outside the political process, including through nonpeaceful means, becomes more attractive, not necessarily out of hope but out of despair.

This distance between what a society should be and the tragedy of what it actually becomes is less of a problem in democracies, because democracies are supposed to be responsive to voters’ demands and grievances. But they aren’t always. The gap will grow larger under a Trump presidency than a Biden one, and this has implications for mass unrest and political violence across American cities. For democracy to work, the losers of elections need to believe that they can win the next time around. Otherwise their incentives to play the spoiler increase. A breakdown of democracy is always a possibility, but the country is more resilient than it may seem, and consolidated democracies seldom break down in any circumstance. That said, this is one of those propositions that is better left untested. (Emphasis added)

So, according to Hamid and the Trump-deranged magazine that ran his piece, the only safe answer for America is obviously Joe Biden, no matter how imperfect he may be. The crazy looters and rioters who bash in businesses, light our streets and property on fire, threaten, assault, and murder the police will probably be so upset that they may never stop. 

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