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Let's Rumble, Pro-Trump Extremists Say
Self-styled patriots are gearing up to thwart an imagined leftwing 'coup,' report says.
A London-based organization that monitors worldwide hate groups says a wide variety of individuals and groups, ranging from gun-rights activists to anti-government vigilantes, anti-Black Lives Matters protesters and far right, highly armed intimidators like the Boogaloo Boys are gearing up to thwart an imagined “coup” attempt by Democrats and liberals to deny President Donald W. Trump reelection.
The groups and individuals have been stirred up by a barrage of propaganda in social media and conservative publications promoting the coup conspiracy theory, reports the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which says it monitored “90,665 posts from 326 pages, groups, channels, subreddits and accounts” of rightwing groups between October 21 and 28.
Trump himself has been constantly promoting the notion that the only way he could lose the election is if Democrats “steal” it. Now, his most extremist followers appear to be gearing up for street battles to somehow prevent that.
“This week, boogaloo, militia and firearm-related communities captured in our analysis discussed the possibility of post-election violence in different areas across the U.S.,” the ISD said in its Monday report.
Pro-Trump groups were especially inflamed by an article from the Seattle Times that reported on preparations by local police to “quash potential election-related unrest,” the ISD said.
“Pro-gun, patriot, and prepper groups shared this article online and welcomed the possibility of unrest and promised to ‘defend’ local property and businesses with force if necessary,” the ISD said after tracking the online activity.
Comments among the groups included, “The citizens militia is ready too,” “Locked and loaded for the libs, antifa, rioters,” and "I am prepared to protect myself and my family using whatever force it will take. I am tired of this bullshit.”
The ISD also cited an article from the right wing American Thinker, which predicted “all hell to break loose” during the election, which could last for several days or even weeks in some states, due to a slow count of mail-in ballots and legal challenges from Republican Party officials. The article asserted, without sound foundation, that left-wing activists are "locked and loaded” and have “pre-selected targets” including “elected officials, judges, politicians and police,” the ISD reported.
Such theories give the pro-Trump groups a rationale to gear up for street battles, the ISD says.
“These groups are frequently using disinformation that portrays planned protest activities by progressive activists as violent mobilization to legitimize their own coordination of violence,” the ISD concluded.
The American Thinker piece was widely shared across the midwest, according to social media accounts monitored by the ISD.
“Comments captured from some of these communities suggest that users welcome the possibility of deadly clashes with left-wing protesters, and are prepared to kill in an imminent ‘civil war.’”
Recent internal studies by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security predicted that threats by domestic extremists to election-related targets would likely increase around the Nov. 3 election.
Members of a self-styled Michigan militia were arrested recently for allegedly plotting to kidnap and execute Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Trump seemed to dismiss the gravity of the charges.
“Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t,” he said.