Activists preparing to mobilize if Pres. Trump refuses ‘peaceful transfer of power’

BOSTON — President Donald Trump’s refusal to give a reporter a straight answer when asked if he will “commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election,” has many activists concerned that he won’t step down if defeated. And they are preparing to fight back, peacefully.

“He’s not going to be met with silence,” said Sean Eldridge, president of Stand Up America, a grassroots organization that works to increase voter participation and to, “protect the right to vote.”

“He’s going to be met with a swift, robust response from Boston to San Francisco.”

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Eldridge’s group and more than 100 others nationwide are recruiting and training people to mobilize in the event that President Trump loses the vote and contests the results. The northeast, Eldridge said, is in “heavy attendance.”

Thousands of volunteers have been signing up for webinars that provide instruction in non-violent resistance.

25 Investigates' Ted Daniel watched one of the training sessions last week. The speakers told the participants they should be prepared to mobilize as soon as the day after polls close with phone-ins, sit-ins, social media campaigns and, if necessary, protests.

Organizers offered advice on how to demand that every vote is counted. They told participants to engage their state and local politicians.

“You can wait on them outside their place of worship and meet them when they come out,” said one speaker. “You could begin to do that in socially distant ways or at their office or at their country club.”

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Eldridge said the goal is to ensure Americans' will is respected.

“Our demands will be: follow the law, count every vote, respect the peaceful transition of power that should rise above Republican or Democrat or independent,” he said. “That’s at the core of having a democracy”.

The president has asked his supporters to watch the polls on Election Day. His campaign will have poll-watching operations in key battleground states.

Maynard resident Kim Flanagan is a Trump supporter. She’s afraid that Tuesday’s election could be a contested one.

“Obviously, we’re not just going to stand back and just let them take over the election the dirty way,” she told 25 Investigates. “We want it the right way. If it’s the right way, we’re fine with it.”

Bridgewater State University political science professor Michael Kryzanek said the winner may not be known right away. Many people are voting by mail because of the pandemic and those votes will need to be counted.

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He expects organized protests and spontaneous activism barring a quick outcome and a clear and decisive winner.

“The vote, of course, is enormously powerful, and should be the final determinate,” Krzyzaniak said. “But because there is this question now, that’s being put out there about the narrative of delay and fraud and rigged elections, that that has brought on a new element here in our society.”

According to Eldridge, 400 protests have already been planned for after the election, depending on the outcome. One of those protests will be held at the Boston Common.

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