How Pro-Democracy Protesters Drowned Out A MAGA Vote Suppression Campaign

Written by on November 6, 2020

PHILADELPHIA and HARRISBURG, Pa. — A couple of dozen journalists at eight a.m. Thursday flocked to the Pennsylvania Conference Heart in Philadelphia, the place supporters of President Donald Trump have been anticipated to stage a rally demanding that election staff inside the middle cease counting votes instantly, a part of a right-wing effort to falsely painting the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election as fraudulent. 

However when the journalists arrived on the rally, the pro-Trump activists there have been sheepish. Throughout the road from their demonstration have been dozens of loud, energetic counterprotesters flying “Depend each vote” banners and blaring music from loudspeakers. 

There was even a DJ. He wore a “Depart Philly alone” T-shirt, and when he placed on Stylish’s “Good Instances,” his fellow counterprotesters broke into the Electrical Slide.  

This opposing, joyous pro-democracy demonstration forged the pro-Trump occasion in harsh aid. The demure “Make America Nice Once more” of us milled about, many maskless, struggling to elucidate unfounded tales of Democrats destroying ballots to skeptical, masked reporters. 

They carried indicators with deceptive messages like “Depend authorized votes,” implying that there’s in some way a major variety of unlawful votes being counted. The indicators additionally bore the title and brand of the Tremendous PAC that had astroturfed this demonstration: FreedomWorks for America, a conservative group with historic ties to dark-money billionaires that was additionally concerned on this 12 months’s anti-lockdown demonstrations over coronavirus prevention measures. 

About 10 a.m., the pro-Trump crew grew to become briefly animated when two outstanding Trump marketing campaign surrogates — former marketing campaign supervisor Corey Lewandowski and former Florida Legal professional Normal Pam Bondi — arrived to carry a press convention. 

However as Bondi tried to spin but extra disinformation about alleged voter fraud in Pennsylvania, the counter-demonstrators throughout the road turned up the music. Beyonce’s “Celebration” drowned out Bondi’s lies. 

Since Election Day, progressive teams throughout the nation have mobilized to demand that each vote be counted within the 2020 election, providing sturdy counter-programming to a coordinated effort by the Trump marketing campaign, the bigger MAGA motion and diverse far-right propagandists to delegitimize America’s electoral course of. 

A part of this right-wing effort includes a sequence of “Cease the Steal” demonstrations throughout the U.S. Some passed off Thursday, and nonetheless others are scheduled for Friday and this weekend. 

The demonstrations have largely been organized on Fb, and on Thursday the social media large took down the principle Cease the Steal web page, which had amassed about 360,000 followers. Fb defined in a press release that members had been “creating real-world occasions” and threatening violence.

“The group was organized across the delegitimization of the election course of, and we noticed worrying requires violence from some members of the group,” a Fb spokesperson informed HuffPost.  

However many different Cease the Steal occasion pages on Fb have been nonetheless energetic Thursday, together with one promoting an indication that day in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital. 

About 50 MAGA fans gathered on the steps of the state Capitol round midday and chanted, “Audit the vote!” 

“We’re not right here to rely each vote. We’re right here to rely each authorized vote,” organizer Scott Presler, a outstanding pro-Trump activist, informed the group by way of a megaphone, implying there may be widespread counting of unlawful ballots, which there’s not. 

Rally attendees wore T-shirts selling the QAnon conspiracy concept motion and waved fascist “Skinny blue line” flags. They chanted, “Cease the fraud! 4 extra years!” 

Some folks driving by the Capitol honked to cheer on the MAGA rally. Others, nonetheless, screamed “Biden 2020!” out of their automotive home windows. 

One Black girl yelled “Crackers!” as she drove by the MAGA crowd, which was predominantly white. One other girl drove by and simply loudly laughed. 

Symphany Jones, 25, stood throughout the road, a Black Lives Matter masks on her face. 

“I’m not stunned, rising up in Pennsylvania,” Jones, who works with homeless youth in Harrisburg, stated of the assembled MAGA protesters in her hometown, explaining that she’d met many individuals like them earlier than in her life.  “It’s disappointing however not a shock.” 

Jones was amongst a gaggle of “Depend Each Vote” demonstrators who confirmed up on the Capitol steps for a rally of their very own. In contrast to their pro-Trump counterparts, nonetheless, that they had a allow. 

Symphany Jones, 25, stands across the street from a pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" rally Thursday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Symphany Jones, 25, stands throughout the road from a pro-Trump “Cease the Steal” rally Thursday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Police informed the “Cease the Steal” crowd they needed to transfer, and so Presler led them on a march to the alternative facet of the Capitol. 

However disadvantaged of the dramatic backdrop of the Capitol’s entrance steps, the rally shortly misplaced any momentum it had. Many demonstrators peeled off and returned to their vehicles. 

The professional-democracy demonstration, nonetheless, was simply getting began. Because the solar began to set over the Susquehanna River, the group grew bigger and bigger. Organizers handed out banners and indicators. Little children held up letters spelling out “Depend each voto” — ”voto” which means “vote” in Spanish. 

The demonstration was organized partly by Casa Pennsylvania, a Latino and immigrant advocacy group.  

“We’re right here immediately to ensure that, particularly all these those that voted for the primary time, get their voice heard by having their vote counted,” Liz Alex, who works with CASA, informed HuffPost. 

“We’re all right here immediately not supporting a candidate or a celebration however a course of, the sturdy, democratic system that we now have to ensure that each voter will get one vote and that every one of these votes are counted,” Alex added. “That’s essential, and that supersedes any occasion, any candidate.” 

Because the demonstration was virtually underway, a younger white man in a crimson MAGA hat and a QAnon shirt walked by way of the group. He was confronted by pro-democracy demonstrators and requested to depart. He refused. Police arrived shortly and arrested him. 

A short while later, the demonstration commenced with a sequence of prayers and speeches by native clergy. As evening fell, organizers handed round little flameless plastic candles. 

The demonstrators then returned dwelling. In the event that they’d turned on their TVs, they could have seen Trump give a meandering, downcast speech so filled with lies about voter fraud that cable information channels lower away. 

Additionally they would have seen that the votes in Pennsylvania have been persevering with to be counted, that Biden was gaining on Trump of their state and that political observers have been rising extra assured that the president can be defeated within the Keystone State, and thus lose the 2020 election. 

Jesselyn Cook dinner contributed reporting. 


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