Jan. 6 may not be the last time people get violent over an election. According to election experts Major Garrett and David Becker, “political violence” could materialize during the upcoming midterms. In fact, violence is their worst fear at the moment.
Garret, a CBS Chief Washington Correspondent, and Becker, the Executive Director of The Center for Election Innovation and Research, join this bonus episode of The New Abnormal podcast to explain why they feel this way, what poll workers have been dealing with since 2020, and what, if anything, we can do about it.
“I’m not worried at all about the processing and counting of ballots. And actually, even though there’s a lot of rhetoric around this for most voters, the vast majority, 99 percent, maybe more the voting process is gonna be pretty easy. It might even seem easier than 2020 because there’s no, there’s not the risk of the pandemic,” Becker tells co-host Molly on her final episode as a TNA host. “The problem that I’m really worried about is that losing candidates might follow the playbook from former president Trump and seek to de-legitimize elections when they’ve lost. And that could leave an opening for political violence.”
Garrett is on the same page.
“Now because of this psychic environment, that’s much more anxious, much more willing to be suspicious, things could spiral outta control and things that would in another time, not be violent, not be confrontational, could be. And that begins to create a sort of viral social media sensation or curiosity, or just two more. And those things can feed on themselves. I’m worried about that,” he tells Molly.
But that’s just one aspect of the trouble that’s been brewing, the two explain.
Both Garrett and Becker co-authored the new book The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy and the Age of the Big Lie, and in doing so have immersed themselves even deeper in the world of elections, specifically the lives of poll workers.
“There’s not a professional election official in the country who thinks that the election was stolen, right? They know all of the checks and balances they have in place. They know there were more paper ballots than ever. They know they audited the technology to make sure it worked properly. They know the courts reviewed all of this. They know how many redundancies and transparencies go into every election process. And they see how the losing candidate has leveraged the lack of knowledge on the part of the general public. They shouldn’t, they can’t be expected to know all of this stuff,” says Becker. “This is what these election officials do every day. And then to be attacked constantly. I mean, in some cases literally threatened, their physical wellbeing threatened. And while they’re preparing for the next major election with over a hundred million voters and unprecedented scrutiny, it’s wearing on them.”
“And to be perfectly honest, the Republicans are getting it perhaps even worse than their Democrats,” he adds.