On election eve, this country is just unbelievably stressed out


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  44 comments

By:   Alex Seitz-Wald

On election eve, this country is just unbelievably stressed out
On the eve of President Donald Trump and Joe Biden's election, the United States feels like a nation on the precipice of crisis.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Nov. 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — The White House has been fortified, the National Guard has been called out, and gun sales are surging.

On the eve of a momentous election, a deeply divided nation is on the edge as it plunges deeper into a pandemic and unemployment rages. The country holds its breath in anticipation of what some fear could be a potential breakdown of law and order or democracy depending on what happens Tuesday.

Downtown Washington felt like a city preparing for a siege Monday as the normally bustling streets of the capital were turned into a plywood ghost town of boarded-up storefronts and windswept sidewalks.

"We do not advise parking or driving downtown," Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference last week.

Empty tour buses trundled by. Necklaces had been removed from the displays of jewelry store windows. And racks of T-shirts supporting either President Donald Trump or Joe Biden sat unsold in a souvenir shop with a large sign over the boarded-up windows letting passersby know "We are open!"

Alex Quintero, who was working to board up an office building, said that in his 30 years in construction in the Washington area, he had never seen so much plywood on downtown facades. "Sometimes we have a problem finding it in the stores," he said. "There's a lot of work to do."

And it's not just Washington. The top-rising election-related Google search term Monday was "cities boarding up for election," while "election day riots" was also in the top 10. Polls show that 6 in 10 voters say the country is on the wrong track, and a growing number are concerned about being laid off, while the economy continues to struggle and the number of people seeking unemployment benefits remains historically high.

Jon Stokes, the deputy editor at ThePrepared.com, a website to help people prepare for emergencies, said he's seen increased interest as the election nears and Covid-19 case numbers rise.

"There is a very serious uptick in anxiety around everything," he said.

The site had a massive surge in traffic in the early days of the pandemic, when people were looking for information about stockpiling food and supplies, but the recent spike also included interest in home defense and firearms. "I think the firearms stuff is related to political events," he said.

Firearms sales have been through the roof for months. The latest FBI data show 3.3 million presale firearm background checks in October, up from an average of 2.16 million for the same month in the previous five years.

Protective wood boards are placed on the front of a CVS Pharmacy near the White House on Wednesday. Businesses are preparing for possible demonstrations after the presidential election.Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Laurie Paul, a psychologist who practices in the Washington area, said she has seen a major rise in anxiety around the election and strained relationships in politically mixed families.

"Big time," she said. "They've talked about how they're feeling jittery or anxious and how it's hard to concentrate on work."

The election is coinciding with a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and cooling weather, which will make it harder for people to see family and friends, and it follows months of racial reckoning that Paul and other psychologists call a "triple pandemic" of stress — the virus, the election and racial reckoning — especially for people of color.

Stephen Stein, a practicing psychologist who is past president of the D.C. Psychological Association, said he's been getting calls from people he hasn't worked with in 20 years.

"All three of these things are melding together and producing a synergistic sense of dread and isolation," he said.

Recent research by the American Psychological Association found that 68 percent of Americans say the election is a significant source of stress in their lives — a sizable increase from the 52 percent who said the same in 2016. And the feeling is across the political divide, with 76 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents reporting election-related stress.

"This has been a year unlike any other in living memory," said Arthur Evans Jr., the association's CEO.

Researchers with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project and MilitiaWatch released a joint report last week warning of "increased militia activity in the election and post-election period" across the country.

And left-wing anti-fascist and anti-racist groups are preparing, as well, with one organizing a large rally near the White House on election night, saying it's "ready to do whatever it takes to Defend Democracy."

Around the country, anxiety and fear are rampant, especially among Democrats still scarred by their surprise loss in 2016 who now fear that Trump and his supporters may use violence or other extralegal means to cling to power.

Beth DeBruyn, 54, a mother of two from Delaware County, Pennsylvania, said Friday that she thought Biden needed an "undeniable victory" for things to end smoothly.

"I've never experienced this feeling around an election," she said. "It's been stressful. I can't wait for the election to get here."

Dave Litko, 61, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, who didn't vote in 2016, said he decided to vote for Biden this year because he said he was "afraid that Trump was trending toward wanting to become president for life."

Kenneth Barton Jr., 70, a retired engineer from Alpharetta, Georgia, a suburb north of Atlanta, said that no matter who wins, it will take years to "get away from" the racial tensions that have exploded into view during the Trump administration.

"It's no surprise to me that there's people like the Proud Boys out there," Barton, who is Black and supports Biden, said of the far-right extremist group. "What is a surprise to me is how many of them there are."

Multiple states have tapped National Guard troops to help poll workers backstop police in the event of massive protests. And cities like Denver have urged businesses to prepare for civil unrest.

Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, said last week that it was pulling guns and ammunition from its shelves, but it reversed the decision Friday, saying it expected any unrest to be geographically isolated.

The International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that typically works in developing countries and global hot zones, warned in a recent report that "the ingredients for unrest are present."

"The electorate is polarized, both sides frame the stakes as existential, violent actors could disrupt the process and protracted contestation is possible. President Donald Trump's often incendiary rhetoric suggests he will more likely stoke than calm tensions," the group warned in a report.

But for Trump supporters, the prevailing anxiety was that Democrats would lead the country down a road to socialism or communism, despite Biden's four-decade record as a moderate.

"I think communism is a serpent that's underlying a lot of politics today, usually the Democratic side," said Michael Bieda, 53, an Arizonan wearing blue sunglasses and a "Socialism Distancing" shirt, who attended a Trump rally in the Phoenix area.

Paul, the psychologist, said that while she usually works with anxious clients to put their tendency to fear catastrophes in context, it's harder to do so now when a breakdown in society seems less far-fetched.

"I feel like a lot of these worries are realistic, so it's really had to shift my strategy," she said.

When a client said he would make sure to fill up the gas tank in his car before election night, just in case, she thought to herself that it wasn't a bad idea and that she might do the same herself.

CORRECTION (Nov. 2, 2020, 9:30 p.m. ET): A photo caption in a previous version of this article misstated when the presidential election will occur. Election Day is Tuesday, not next week.


jrDiscussion - desc
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1  igknorantzrulz    3 weeks ago

oh come on now, what could possibly go wrong , Trump is in charge...

2  Kavika     3 weeks ago

I voted in a lot of elections in my lifetime and have never seen one that is quite so contentious not only between the candidates but between voters. 

I believe that it's possible that the US has set itself on a path to a total meltdown.

We shall see in the next few days.

2.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @2    3 weeks ago

The fight for the country our constitution says we are ramps up today Kavika..... You ready to go to work?

2.1.1  MUVA  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1    3 weeks ago

What work are you going to do?I'm going to repairs boats.

2.1.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  MUVA @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

Then go repair boats MUVA....

Me.... I can multi-task.  I can work at building manufacturing plants in different states while removing the support for white supremacist's out of the White House.

2.1.3  MUVA  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1.2    3 weeks ago

I bet I  make more money in one place and it’s my corporation I win.

2.1.4  FLYNAVY1  replied to  MUVA @2.1.3    2 weeks ago

I bet my efforts make more short and long term jobs and does more to stimulate the economy from the standpoint contractors and cash flow...... Americans win!  

2.2  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @2    3 weeks ago
I believe that it's possible that the US has set itself on a path to a total meltdown.

Well,. that may be the goal of all of Trump's shenanagans.

Disrupt the very foundations of democracy, get people frightened and angry--  angry at each other.

And when things really start to break down-- claim you are the only one who can restore "order"-- and seize power.

(It wouldn't be the first time...

2.2.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @2.2    3 weeks ago

It wouldn't be the first time...


On February 27, 1933, the German parliament ( Reichstag ) building burned down.

The Nazi leadership and its coalition partners used the fire to claim that Communists were planning a violent uprising. They claimed that emergency legislation was needed to prevent this.

The resulting act, commonly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, abolished a number of constitutional protections and paved the way for Nazi dictatorship.


Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
4  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

5  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

Voting out a known pathological liar, crook, bigot, moron and cheat , should be a piece of cake, a walk in the park, ----- the fact that many see it as a close contest and maybe even a Trump win says something frightening about America. It is disturbing , but evidently the reality we face. 

The first time could be an uninformed fluke, the second time would be an unspeakable tragedy. 

charger 383
6  charger 383    3 weeks ago

Just back from voting, no line, very quick and saw some friends I had not seen in long time.  Took less time than getting a coffee at Sheetz

Just Jim NC TttH
6.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  charger 383 @6    3 weeks ago

About 25 minutes here. Never seen this many people in our little precinct at this time of day. It was awesomesauce

6.2  Freewill  replied to  charger 383 @6    3 weeks ago
Took less time than getting a coffee at Sheetz

Sheetz???  Do they actually filter it through sheets?  What thread count?  jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

Lines aren't bad here either, although many here don't even bother to vote as California's winner take all electoral system negates many votes anyway.

charger 383
6.2.1  charger 383  replied to  Freewill @6.2    3 weeks ago

I don't know what they use to make coffee but it is good and I get a free cup every week 

Trout Giggles
6.2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  charger 383 @6.2.1    3 weeks ago

they used to make great hot dogs

6.3  Krishna  replied to  charger 383 @6    3 weeks ago
Just back from voting, no line, very quick and saw some friends I had not seen in long time.  Took less time than getting a coffee at Sheetz

May/ vary in different areas, but I believe I've read that this election may set a record for early voting--- apparently lots of people voted early/

7  Nerm_L    3 weeks ago

What did everyone expect would happen?  A large, record setting voter turnout will marginalize fringe elements.  Political leaders have been currying support from the fringe because they want votes.  Whoever wins the elections won't be throwing the political fringe under the bus as has happened in the past; the political fringe elements aren't going to allow themselves to be marginalized.  And we have allowed the political fringe to control the streets.  Protests that are little more than mob violence have become acceptable political activities.

We have been experiencing the same trajectory of escalation that got us stuck in Vietnam.  Except this time it's happening inside our own country.

7.1  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @7    3 weeks ago
Political leaders have been currying support from the fringe because they want votes.

Its true== trump especially has motivated every type of nutcase from Q Anon to David Duke of the Klan! 

(Actually it started in 2016):

David Duke , who once led the neo-Nazi, white-supermacist organisation, tweeted the claim on election night.

“This is one of the most exciting nights of my life,” Mr Duke wrote.

“Make no mistake about it, our people have played a huge role in electing Trump!”

Trout Giggles
8  Trout Giggles    3 weeks ago

I'm not stressed just relieved that this day has finally come. I will try not to worry about violence, or hanging chads, or accusations of voter fraud, accusations of voter suppression, voter intimidation, or the price of coffee tomorrow,

There's too much that's out of my span of control so I don't see the point of stressing.

Just Jim NC TttH
8.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @8    3 weeks ago

Excellent attitude. Seriously. Kudos TG.

'Bout time that someone else on this site realized that stressing over that which you cannot control wholly, doesn't mean chit in the end.

Trout Giggles
8.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1    3 weeks ago

Thanks, Jim

Paula Bartholomew
8.1.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1    3 weeks ago

We rarely agree, but this time you are spot on.

8.1.3  Krishna  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1    3 weeks ago
Bout time that someone else on this site realized

And of course you are qualified to speak for everyone on this site!

(How do you know what everyone had been feeling-- or their attitude toward the the upcoming Election had been?) I, for one, have not been stressed out about the election....so I wouldn't be surprised if you were also wrong about several other people!

Just Jim NC TttH
8.1.4  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Krishna @8.1.3    3 weeks ago

Where in the hell did I say everyone? Look at the plethora of comments for the last 4 years here FFS. And several is a subjective word. And your comments throughout this period belies this one post of yours.

And FYI, voting up one's own posts is bad form..................

8.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Trout Giggles @8    3 weeks ago

According to my last read, much of if any of the violence predicted for today has not turned out so far. What a surprise. I voted early a week ago so no big deal to me. Walked into my local courthouse, went to the drop box in the middle of the main lobby and put my ballot in. Funny thing was there was not another person in sight. Fringe benefit of living in a small rural border community with only about 13,000 population. Been very calm here today with a business as usual attitude by the town.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
8.2.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @8.2    3 weeks ago

Well that is a good thing!

8.2.2  Krishna  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @8.2    3 weeks ago
According to my last read, much of if any of the violence predicted for today has not turned out so far. What a surprise.

There's an old saying inthe news business:

If it bleeds it leads!

Relatively unimportant stories may make headlines (and sell more papers!) if they have an element of sensationalism in them! (or if  they aren't inherently sensational-- if the paper can present them as such!)

8.2.3  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Krishna @8.2.2    3 weeks ago

Sensationalism is pretty much the name of the game anymore with much of the mainstream media. Factual and conscientious journalism is seemingly becoming more and more a archaic concept these days.

Sean Treacy
9  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

Win or lose, the sun will come up tomorrow. 

I honestly don't get the angst. If you are happy with your life, you'll be happy tomorrow. If not, you won't be no matter what happens. 

9.1  MUVA  replied to  Sean Treacy @9    3 weeks ago

My wallet will take a hit but we are on the same plane my life will proceed.

9.2  Krishna  replied to  Sean Treacy @9    3 weeks ago
I honestly don't get the angst. If you are happy with your life, you'll be happy tomorrow.

Are you saying that Fox News has been over-sensationalizing the riotingand the looting-- and they really aren't effectinganyone nearly as much as Fox news claims?

If so-- that would be shocking!

I am shocked, shocked I tell you

10  IMT    3 weeks ago

To this point, we see only the first stirrings of social upheavals to come. If Trump attempts to override the election results, expect widespread unrest. These will be met with essentially a militarized response. That is the point of the amassed hardware.

12  MonsterMash    3 weeks ago

12.1  Krishna  replied to  MonsterMash @12    3 weeks ago

In which cities were these taken?

The bottom photo looks familiar.

Is that happening tonight ?

What is the date of the bottom photo?

Was it taken tonight?

13  MonsterMash    3 weeks ago

No, it's not happening tonight. The pictures represent what I think will happen tomorrow night......burning and looting

13.1  Krishna  replied to  MonsterMash @13    3 weeks ago
Democratic controlled cities Wednesday night

But you labeled them:

Democratic controlled cities Wednesday night!

Shall I post a picture of trump having sex with a baby-- would it be OK if I labeled it Wednesday night because IMO I think its what would happen Wednesday night?

You're lucky this isn't my [website- deleted]

14  Krishna    3 weeks ago

Should deliberately posting false information be allowed on NT?

14.1  MUVA  replied to  Krishna @14    3 weeks ago

I like your post don't stop they are funny.

15  MonsterMash    3 weeks ago

What false information? Above the pictures I typed "Democratic controlled cities Wednesday night" It's a prediction, I didn't present it as fact.

15.1  Krishna  replied to  MonsterMash @15    3 weeks ago


15.1.1  MonsterMash  replied to  Krishna @15.1    3 weeks ago


charger 383
16  charger 383    3 weeks ago

Krishna and Monster Mash stop insulting  

16.1  Krishna  replied to  charger 383 @16    3 weeks ago

Ok-- good suggestion!


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