| USA TODAY
How a contentious election affects a peaceful transition of power
What history has shown us about contested elections and peaceful transitions of power.
WASHINGTON — Hours into Election Night, with polls closing nationwide and votes being tallied, protesters clashed outside of the White House and pockets of other unrest around the country has been reported.
The Washington protest, despite early reports of calm, reportedly started to turn as the night wore on. CBS News reporter Christina Ruffini shared a video of what she called “some sort of smoke bomb” being used at the protest and said people were “just fighting.”
Pushing and shoving at the scene was broken up quickly.
Other reports of violence surfaced Tuesday. A man wearing a shirt supporting incumbent President Donald Trump challenged a protester to a fight in a situation that was diffused by police, according to the New York Times.
The outlet also reported a man was hit with a bat after he shouted “all lives matter” and a protester who was chanting “Black lives matter.” Bystanders broke up that confrontation, The New York Times reported.
A D.C. Metropolitan Police Department spokesman said so far, one arrest had been made as of just before 10 p.m. An adult male was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, crossing a police line and resisting arrest.
Bloomberg reported the protesters unfurled a large black banner with the words “Remove Trump” in white all-caps letters.
In Chicago, one of the bridges near downtown’s Trump Tower had been lifted over the Chicago River—a common sight in recent months amid incidents of looting or unrest in the city. The move has been used to restrict access to downtown.
Video of the Illinois National Guard pulling into the city’s downtown McCormick Place Convention Center circulated on social media Monday night, sparking concern among some. Tuesday morning, the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said in a statement that the personnel were stationed in Chicago “to be ready to respond if needed” but that there were “no plans for them to be deployed.”
Several protests were planned in neighborhoods throughout the city for Wednesday night.
Left-leaning demonstrators planned Election Day protests for weeks.
Some protesters are already gearing up for a longer, more sustained pushback. Organizers at ShutDownDC plan to host a lively event featuring live music, real-time election results and even salsa dancers the night of the election. But they plan for more aggressive actions as the week goes on depending on the outcome of the election, such as if President Donald Trump were to win reelection or to question the election outcome.
Trump has said he would likely take legal action if he believes Tuesday’s election is conducted unfairly, especially in battleground Pennsylvania. “As soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” he told reporters Sunday just before a rally in Hickory, North Carolina.
Trump did deny a report in the news outlet Axios that he planned to declare victory if he is ahead in Pennsylvania and enough other states on Election Day, even if mail-in ballots were still being counted. But he also said it would be unfair for Pennsylvania and other states to count ballots after Tuesday, as they plan to do. At least five counties in Pennsylvania have announced they will not be counting absentee and mail-in ballots until the day after Election Day.
Expecting a drawn-out battle, ShutDownDC organizers have plans to “disrupt business as usual for some of the institutions that are most complicit in Trump’s attack on Democracy.” And on Thursday, they plan to host a caravan of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Outside of Washington, organizers are gearing up for protests around the country. Police are preparing, too.
The Los Angeles Police Department announced a citywide tactical alert “to ensure sufficient resources to address any incidents that may arise as a result of Election Day activities.”
The department added the alert was “not a result of any specific incident.”
“The Department is committed to ensuring that adequate resources are available to ensure all Angelenos are able to safely vote without interference,” the LAPD tweeted. “The Department will continue to assess the needs to maintain a tactical alert based upon the needs and state of the City.”
Organizers of the Women’s March have called for people to hold demonstrations around the country on election night in which participants “shine a light on the process” by holding lanterns, flashlights, and candles, Vox reported.
In Philadelphia, which has seen multiple days of unrest over the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., dozens of progressive organizations are planning “mass action” in the event of voter intimidation or mail-in ballot invalidation, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
More than 520 events have been organized nationwide by Protect the Results on Nov. 4 and beyond if Trump either declares victory before all votes are counted or refuses to accept election results. Protect the Results is a coalition of more than 165 grassroots organizations, advocacy groups and labor unions led by activist groups Indivisible and Stand Up America.
Contributing: Jordan Culver, Chris Quintana,David Jackson, Grace Hauck, Courtney Subramanian and Joey Garrison