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President Donald Trump and his Democratic competitor, Joe Biden, have both indicated that their parties will be victorious even though the final results are still a long way off. Mr Trump has also gone one step further than his challenger and said “I have frankly won” despite still being far away from the required threshold of 270 Electoral College votes. He has even derided the US voting system by saying he intended to go to the Supreme Court to dispute the counting of postal votes and tackle the supposed “fraud” within American democracy.
This is the latest astonishing rhetoric from the President which is perceived by some as inciting civil unrest.
Trump supporters even allegedly harassed Mr Biden’s campaign bus last week, shouting profanities and obscenities before blocking the Democrat’s entourage, according to sources.
The FBI is investigating the incident.
Concerns that violence could erupt after the election result is announced have been circling for months.
For instance, Mr Trump faced backlash for refusing to condemn white supremacists, Proud Boys, earlier in his campaign.
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He appeared to change his mind 48 hours later and quickly said the far-right should “stand down”.
Yet, the President made a similar move two weeks later when he refused to condemn the far-right conspiracy theory group, QAnon.
This sect believes Mr Trump is secretly fighting against Satan-worshipping paedophiles who have high-profile jobs in the Democrat Party.
Speaking on Americast last month, the BBC’s Emily Maitlis said: “He’s trying to root around and find a way of distancing himself — not just shutting it down, it’s really easy to say ‘I don’t believe that conspiracy theory’.”
The Guardian’s commentator Richard Wolffe even claimed Mr Trump “is the QAnon president” after the billionaire said he agreed with the cult’s stance against paedophilia — while saying he knew nothing about their other ideas.
Now, with the White House’s response to the pandemic which has exploded in the US under scrutiny, the nation has become even more divided.
An exit poll for the US electorate found 51 percent of voters think containing the virus should be the top priority — while 42 percent said rebuilding the economy, Mr Trump’s main goal, should be at the top of the list.
A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology even found Mr Trump’s tweets have exacerbated anti-vaccination attitudes among his supporters as only 51 percent of Americans say they would consider getting a coronavirus vaccine.
There is also an argument that the President is tapping into an already indignant crowd who stand against vaccinations.
Sky News’ economics editor Ed Conway noted in The Times: “It’s often said that 1976 was when the modern anti-vaccine movement began and that America’s relationship with immunisation has never been the same since.”
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1976 was the year of the election between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, when the US was consumed by worries about swine flu.
The White House said it intended to vaccinate “every man, woman and child in the US” as many feared the flu emulated the 1918 Spanish Flu which killed more than 100 million people across the world.
However, this virus only affected 45 million people.
Yet, more than 450 of those who were vaccinated developed Guillain-Barre syndrome — a rare neurological disorder, which triggered the death of 30 vaccinated Americans.
Discover magazine looked at the public health legacy of the 1976 outbreak.
Its report explained: “This government-led campaign was widely viewed as a debacle and put an irreparable dent in future public health initiatives, as well as negatively influenced the public’s perception of both the flu and the flu shot in this country.”
It added that it may even have “compromised Gerald Ford’s presidential re-election as well as the government’s response to a new sexually transmitted virus that emerged only a few years later in the early Eighties”, referring to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
The US has had close to 10 million cases of COVID-19, with 233,000 deaths — making it the worst hit nation in the world — yet, Mr Trump seems determined not to wait for a vaccine.
At one point, he even suggested a vaccine of bleach could be effective, he has regularly refused to wear masks and has encouraged his supporters to attend his rallies without masks on.
When he contracted the disease himself, but recovered quickly, he tweeted: “Feeling good. Don’t be afraid of COVID-19… I feel better than I did 20 years ago.”
He then said the experience from the deadly virus was a blessing from God, and that the treatment he received made him feel like “Superman”.
With fear for the virus not going anywhere and US tribalism becoming increasingly agitated, many fear Mr Trump is setting up civil war.
Commentator Janet Daley noted in The Telegraph today: “If Donald Trump barricades himself into the White House and drags the whole thing into the courts, the battle will break out in the streets as well and this will begin to look like civil war.”
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