One of the most interesting parts of our system of government is the peaceful transfer of power. One government steps aside as a new one takes over, time after time. While some would argue that January 6th is an exception, the truth is that Biden still was able to walk into the White House without an army behind him.
Armed takeovers just aren’t a thing here.
However, a year in Biden’s presidency and things aren’t going well for the long-time politician. His approval rating is lower than a wagon rut in Death Valley and that’s troubling for his supporters.
Most folks seem to think he won’t run for a second term no matter what, but many expect Trump to come back for another run at the presidency.
And they’re already starting the fearmongering. In particular, claiming that many on the right are ready to initiate an armed takeover if Trump doesn’t win.
Millions of fellow would-be insurrectionists will be there, too, Nieznany says, “a ticking time-bomb” targeting the Capitol. “There are lots of fully armed people wondering what’s happening to this country,” he says. “Are we going to let Biden keep destroying it? Or do we need to get rid of him? We’re only going to take so much before we fight back.” The 2024 election, he adds, may well be the trigger.
Nieznany is no loner. His political comments on the social-media site Quora received 44,000 views in the first two weeks of November and more than 4 million overall. He is one of many rank-and-file Republicans who own guns and in recent months have talked openly of the need to take down—by force if necessary—a federal government they see as illegitimate, overreaching and corrosive to American freedom.
The phenomenon goes well beyond the growth of militias, which have been a feature of American life at least since the Ku Klux Klan rose to power after the Civil War. Groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, which took part in the January 6th riot at the Capitol and may have played organizational roles, have grown in membership. Law enforcement has long tracked and often infiltrated these groups. What Nieznany represents is something else entirely: a much larger and more diffuse movement of more-or-less ordinary people, stoked by misinformation, knitted together by social media and well-armed. In 2020, 17 million Americans bought 40 million guns and in 2021 were on track to add another 20 million. If historical trends hold, the buyers will be overwhelmingly white, Republican and southern or rural.
America’s massive and mostly Republican gun-rights movement dovetails with a growing belief among many Republicans that the federal government is an illegitimate tyranny that must be overthrown by any means necessary. That combustible formula raises the threat of armed, large-scale attacks around the 2024 presidential election—attacks that could make the January 6 insurrection look like a toothless stunt by comparison. “The idea that people would take up arms against an American election has gone from completely farfetched to something we have to start planning for and preparing for,” says University of California, Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun policy and constitutional law.
In other words, they want you to be afraid of an armed takeover.
See, I find it hilarious that liberal and presumably anti-Second Amendment journalists and professors have their finger on the pulse of the gun-rights movement and are hearing this supposedly common rhetoric when those of us who actually cover it aren’t.
Oh, there are people who might say such things, but they’re always saying such things.
There are far more people who are interested in taking up arms if Biden refuses to concede power should he lose. We hear that from both sides every election, though, so there’s nothing new there.
Yet I find it funny that this comes up at a time when Biden’s approval rating is so low, when his vice president is liked even less, and there’s a very real risk of his party losing significant ground in the midterms.
Frankly, I think we have more to fear from rioting should Biden lose in 2024 than anything else as things currently stand.
Admittedly, there’s still time. He could turn things around and bump up that approval rating and set the stage for his party to retain the White House, either with him winning or another Democrat. Stranger things have happened.
But I don’t see it as a serious threat.
The question, though, is why start this push now? I mean, we’re talking three years from now. A lot can change in three years.
My guess is that this is part of an effort to try and convince the American people that we really need an assault weapon ban. If we can’t have the tools to resist tyranny, then we won’t have the tools to initiate an armed takeover of the American government.
If armed takeovers were really an issue, they might have something approaching a point–it would still be unconstitutional, but I could see where they were coming from–but as it is, I think they’re reaching.
Then again, the whole article is a reach.