It's been a nationally observable trend for months that Americans - often who have never so much as purchased a single weapon - are now stockpiling guns, ammo, and survivalist gear ahead of what many fear will be a contested election followed by mayhem and unrest, especially in urban areas which saw mass rioting and looting over the summer and the complete breakdown of law and order.
Anticipating this very scenario Republican Gov. Greg Abbot has mobilized up to 1,000 troops to safeguard major cities in Texas on election day and afterward over potential unrest and "disturbances", Fox News reports.
The San Antonio Express-News in a report Monday listed the five large cities where potential violence is expected, but which will see national guardsmen patrolling streets as Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.
Recall that last month Abbot threatened to take over the Austin Police Department to thwart the capital city's attempt to drastically cut police funding.
The Texas National Guard command has further reportedly been asked by the governor's office to draft specific contingency plans in case of an outbreak of election violence.
Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris in a statement said the Texas Military Department was previously "activated to provide additional support to the Department of Public Safety in the summer of 2020" and that it will fill this role once again related to the November election.
The Texas Army National Guard said it had been ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to dispatch 1,000 troops to five major cities across the state, including Austin, in connection with the election. https://t.co/9DjxjKD0d7— Austonia (@austonianews) October 27, 2020
"Texas Service Members continue to support DPS in this capacity, guarding historical landmarks such as the Alamo and the State Capitol," Norris said. Austin police earlier said local law enforcement "will plan and prepare for any large protest or civil unrest events related to the upcoming elections."
However, given Texas Democrats are outraged and on edge over the Republican governor ordering up the National Guard, the general further underscored:
"To be clear, there has been no request nor any plan to provide any type of support at any polling location in Texas."
Updates: “We have no indication and no intelligence that this will be anything but a peaceful election," Dallas Co. Judge Jenkins says as #TexasNationalGuard set to send troops to major cities for support after #election, @catherinemarfin reports. #txlege https://t.co/VQQsUAFaTr— John Gravois (@Grav1) October 27, 2020
On Tuesday many county and local Democrats slammed the move as unconstitutional and completely unjustified as nothing but a "peaceful election" is expected, they said.
It's also the case that the 5 cities tend to be Democratic strongholds, as many commentators are also pointing out.
Critics have cried foul, claiming the mere presence of troops anywhere on Texas city streets is a form of voter suppression and intimidation. But as is currently being demonstrated with police being attacked by large roving mobs in Philadelphia, the potential for post-election chaos remains very real, especially if there's a Trump victory.