Election Preparation

post by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2020-10-15T20:30:03.278Z · score: 18 (8 votes) · LW · GW · 4 comments

Historically, uncertainty about who is the rightful leader has often led to violence. While I think the most likely outcome for the coming election in the US is a peaceful transition from Trump to Biden, the range of possibilities is wide enough that it's worth making some preparations for worse outcomes.

The most likely risk to me seems to be supply chain disruptions. If things go poorly, staying home is probably going to be your best option, and you want to have whatever supplies you need on hand so that you don't have to go out. This is always good policy, but is especially important if there is a potential disaster you can see coming. Make sure you have enough food, refills on medicines, and spares for critical items (glasses, medical equipment). If there are things that you usually purchase in a "just in time" manner, buy ahead. Think through things you might be going to want and consider getting them now instead. Check in with friends and relatives and make sure they're in an ok spot.

I think there is also some risk of rioting and fires, especially on election night or perhaps after a court verdict is announced. If you have a car, making sure you have a full tank of gas is worth it. Aside from that, however, I think planning for riots is not that different for planning for supply issues. If you would be considering participating in riots, you would probably also want to plan in advance for any gear you might want.

Someone who was much more risk averse than I am, or who anticipated a much worse outcome, might consider making plans to be in a remote area, or outside the country. I'd recommend against buying firearms: there's a lot of practice that goes into using them well, and if you don't know what you're doing you're probably going to make things worse.

As someone who would like to see Biden elected, and expects you do as well, I think the most important thing to do is to vote. A clear victory is hard to dispute.


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comment by anon03 · 2020-10-16T11:10:15.313Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd recommend against buying firearms: there's a lot of practice that goes into using them well, and if you don't know what you're doing you're probably going to make things worse.

Anyone know anything about buying pepper spray??

comment by Stuart Anderson (stuart-anderson) · 2020-10-16T05:04:44.184Z · score: -16 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Trump ran because he was insulted. If an ego motivation is at play then is that sufficient to cause a problem here?

    Does anyone else on that side give enough of a shit to conduct an insurrection? I can't think of anyone off the top of my head.
  • There's no point talking about Biden as president. He's an anyone but Trump choice at best, he's got dementia, and Pelosi is already lining up the 25th in the event of a win. Harris is the candidate. So the question is what happens if Harris and co. don't win? We've already had Clinton come out with a no concession under any circumstances statement.
  • Who has the ear of the military and the police? You don't pull off an insurrection without guns.

    Given how armed to the teeth the populace is, who do they support and will they do so with force?
  • Standard prep applies. Furthermore, unless you are willing to defend your life and property with deadly force and have the means to do so, I would suggest that you consider leaving risky areas. Spending a couple of days out of town isn't the end of the world if it's a false alarm.
  • If you have a car, make sure you have a bike and decent walking shoes. You need multiple paths and modes of egress if SHTF. Paper maps wouldn't hurt either, telecommunications infrastructure may be overwhelmed.
  • Rioting is assured either way. The riots are a beast that cannot be stopped at this point, and are arguably of political utility for both sides (and other parties unrelated to the election). Riots are largely confined to certain areas, and you already know how close you are to them. Act accordingly.
  • If you are planning on participating in riots then I hope you get shot in the head. If you think the sword is the answer then it's only fair when the sword falls on you. Civilisation is a choice.
  • It's too late for you to legally acquire firearms, and certainly too late for the training commitment, but it isn't too late to hire those services in others if so inclined.

    There have been several examples at this point of the 'mostly peaceful protestors' being dissuaded from their violence when it has been plain they'd get shot for their troubles. Likewise there have been many more examples where unarmed people have been attacked, injured, and killed.
  • I'm not in America and I respect the law so I wouldn't vote even if I was. 

    I think a Harris Presidency will be its own kind of shit show. She a neoliberal asshole, but it's also unclear whether she's even the final candidate (the 25th takes out Biden, various political skullduggery makes a new VP, and Harris steps down making the VP the President). Who knows who's going to be the real power? I wouldn't rule out Clinton.

    A second term for Trump is more of the same (whether that's a problem or not for you is an individual matter) but with the added complications of covid, economic problems, escalating tensions with China, the rioters, and Christ knows what else 2020's year from Hell throws at us. Some of those elements could be reduced under a Harris Presidency, but plenty of them are acts of God and aren't going to get any better treatment than they've received thus far (again, whether that's a problem or not is a matter for the individual). 

    Not every problem has an easy solution, and I think 2020 is pretty much a Voltron of those kinds of problems. Whether Trump or Harris we are all in for some rough years.
  • A clear victory isn't going to happen. Look at what happened last time, now imagine the Dems lose again. Do you really think they're going to take it any better than they have this last four years? Likewise there's no reason to assume the Repubs are going to be any more reserved in defeat.

    Bullshit and griping is assured here. Whether it goes a great deal further than that is unclear. Civility in American politics was dead years before Trump was even a factor. He never would have be elected otherwise. He's just the logical outcome of a dysfunctional system. Barring some radical unseen change I expect every election going forwards to be a case of Are these really the best candidates you could come up with?
comment by Viliam · 2020-10-16T17:06:26.458Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are these really the best candidates you could come up with?

I don't remember the exact words, but there is a saying that people who want power are exactly the ones who shouldn't get it. By that logic, any system where people compete for the power is dysfunctional, because first it filters the candidates by criteria you probably wouldn't approve of... and only then allows you to pick among the remaining options that often all suck.

Not being an American, I have no idea who Biden is... he seems like some generic non-Trump. But by the logic of the system, he must be someone who defeated his competitors (within the Democratic Party). This is not an ability that would make anyone like him. I mean, if you prefer Republicans, you won't vote for him anyway; and if you prefer Democrats, then "being able to defeat Democrats" is not exactly the thing you want more of. Nonetheless, this is a precondition for getting to the final round. Being able to defeat people on your side is more important than being able to defeat people on the other side, because if you fail at the former, you won't get a chance to do the latter.

A different voting system -- for example one where anyone can give a vote to any number of candidates, and the one with most votes wins -- would deliver a different kind of candidates. (Not necessarily better; the new system could have new weaknesses.)