Live Mic: Political science professor says post-election violence unlikely

Nov 2, 2020, 4:01 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2022, 11:39 am
post-election violence...
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: Pedestrians walk by the Macy's flagship store after workers cleaned and boarded up damage sustained during a night of violent protests and looting in Midtown, Manhattan on June 2, 2020 in New York City. The store is boarded up again on Nov. 2, 2020, in anticipation of possible Election Day or post-election violence. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Is the threat of widespread post-election violence after Tuesday’s presidential vote overblown, hyped up, fear-mongering or a real possibility to take seriously?

On Live Mic, Lee Lonsberry put that question to Richard Davis, a BYU political science professor. 

He said historically the United States has not seen much election-related violence.

“We tend to be more moderate and less passionate as a public,” Davis said. 

Post-election violence unlikely

He acknowledged that this year has seen its share of protests and riots resulting from the shootings of unarmed black men by police, but he added that the likelihood of violence related to the election would be small and isolated if it occurs.

“I think it probably is overblown. There isn’t going to be some sort of mass acts of violence as a result of this election,” Davis said. 

Although he has called mail-in voting fraudulent, President Donald Trump will accept the results of the election if he loses and encourage others to do so, Davis predicted.

“Have we ever seen anything that requires businesses to board up their windows following elections in this country?” Lee asked. 

“That has never been a feature of the United States, which we should all applaud. We have been able to conduct very peaceful elections. The Civil War was probably the most difficult in terms of this issue,” Davis replied. ” . . . We’ve been quite blessed in our avoidance of the very things that we see happen so often around the world and in other countries. I don’t think that is going to end in this election. But I do worry about the political polarization that is going on.”

Polarized nation

“Is that something that we have seen throughout history or are we facing unique polarization today?” Lee asked.

Davis said in the early 1800s there were vicious attacks happening between the two major parties and their candidates. He added that what political scientists are finding today is how much one side dislikes the other as opposed to how much they like their own party.

“That’s kind of a scary thought. Again, I don’t think it’s going to lead to violence. But it does mean we see the other side in a very negative way that probably will eventually lead to even more polarization and even more distaste for each other. It’s sort of a civil war but it’s not necessarily a violent civil war,” Davis said. 

He added that political polarization harms government operations when the two sides are unwilling to work with each other and compromise on the ideological issues that divide the country.

Your Voice, Your Vote | 2020 Election Guide

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Election Result

Republican Party failed to vote on a new House Speaker on Tuesday. An expert joins KSL NewsRadio to...

McCarthy wins nomination for House speaker, but grind ahead

McCarthy won the nomination Tuesday from his GOP colleagues in a secret ballot election. But it's just the start.
3 months ago
Democrat Katie Hobbs (left) will win Arizona's governor's race, CNN projects, defeating Republican ...
Maeve Reston, CNN

Katie Hobbs will win Arizona governor’s race, CNN projects, defeating Trump favorite Kari Lake

Nearly a week after the election, Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs will win the Arizona governor's race, CNN projects.
3 months ago
Maeve Reston, CNN

Democrat Mark Kelly will win reelection to US Senate, CNN projects

CNN projects that Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly will defeat Republican challenger Blake Masters.
3 months ago
The exterior of Orem High School, in Orem, Utah. This is one of the high schools that would have sp...
Simone Seikaly

Orem mayor feeling positive despite failure of Proposition 2

Orem Mayor David Young admits he was disappointed about Proposition 2 failing, but he feels positive about starting the conversation. 
3 months ago
Orem High School from Alpine School District is pictured. alpine school district split debate...
Chris Jacobs

Alpine School District will not split, according to preliminary results

Initial numbers showed that over 70% of voters in Orem chose not to split the Alpine School District to create an Orem Schoo District.
3 months ago
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis celebrates onstage during his 2022 midterm elections night...
Eric Bradner, Dan Merica and Gregory Krieg, CNN

Takeaways from the 2022 midterms: Battle for control of the House and Senate still up in the air

Control of the House and Senate was unknown by Wednesday morning.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Live Mic: Political science professor says post-election violence unlikely