Wealth & Poverty Review Extortion Day

How the Democratic Party and its allies used the threat of violence as a campaign tactic Originally published at City Journal

In the days preceding last week’s election, the downtown corridors of many American cities resembled coastal hurricane zones. Business owners boarded up their stores, fearing that the election might unleash another wave of destructive rioting. In Washington, D.C., luxury shops and office complexes constructed fortifications with boards, chains, fences, and barriers. In the neighborhood surrounding the White House, the Secret Service, laborers, and left-wing protesters all prepared for Election Night.

Then something miraculous happened. The following morning, as the election returns began to favor former vice president Joe Biden, the fences, boards, and chains came down. Small business owners reopened their shops, and the anticipation of violence evaporated. The national media, which had been stoking fears about Proud Boys and white supremacists flooding the cities with political violence, simply dropped the story — as if it had never been a story.

The rest of us shouldn’t move on so easily. Riot preparations are unprecedented in modern American electoral history. The media have quickly moved to establish a new narrative — the “return to normalcy” under a presumptive Biden presidency — and would prefer to relegate the much-discussed pre-election tensions to the memory hole.

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Christopher Rufo

Former Director, Center on Wealth & Poverty
Christopher Rufo is former director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He has directed four documentaries for PBS, Netflix, and international television, including his latest film, America Lost, that tells the story of three "forgotten American cities.” Christopher is currently a contributing editor of City Journal, where he covers poverty, homelessness, addiction, crime, and other afflictions. Christopher is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow, and has appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, HLN, and FOX News.