Over the last four years, U.S. President Donald Trump has shown more sympathy for far-right groups, many of them armed, than any president in recent memory. At the same time, his administration has reportedly pressured law enforcement agencies to downplay the threat posed by these organizations, allowing nonstate violence to creep back into the political mainstream to a degree not seen since the 1960s and 1970s. Just last month, a group of antigovernment extremists was arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, after she defied Trump’s demand to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” from COVID-19 restrictions. More violence could erupt ahead of next week’s presidential election, as well as in its aftermath.
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