A scary title. A scary prospect.

I believe that the possibility of violence on Election Day 2024 is real. Something has to be done about preventing such an attack on our democracy, starting now.

My belief is based on the likelihood of a Trump candidacy. Most of Trump’s supporters are citizens who believe that Trump deserves to return to the presidency because of his policies. They have no intention of participating in an Election Day attack.

But there are Trump followers who are part of a Trump cult with a propensity to violence. Dissatisfied with the unsuccessful post-election day attempts to subvert the 2020 results, there is every indication that this year these dangerous elements will seek to enter the process earlier than the vote-counting phase.

To be clear, there are Trump opponents on the far left whose ill will towards him leads to bizarre excesses. But the Trump cult members on the far right do crazy better than the leftists.

Election Day attacks will be aimed at only certain precincts in battleground states. Extensive use of AI will be included. It’s a pretty good bet that no violence will afflict voters in Wyoming or South Carolina where Trump victories are likely if not yet “baked.”

What to do to head this off? The FBI and the Department of Justice can play a major role in stemming any violence but there are several danger signs attending their involvement. First, the FBI is not the same as the FBI I worked with as an Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan and the bureau does not have the across-the-board approval it used to enjoy. Second, the DOJ seems weak and ineffectual due to weak leadership at the top.

More to the point, federal elections are run by the states, per the Constitution. Thus the states will have primary responsibility for assuring a violence-free Election Day. But this is a precinct by precinct task. Some contested precincts in battleground states will have effective police forces and some will not. Some will need help in addressing Election Day violence.

I propose the creation of a national organization, funded by private citizens and interested institutions, to assist in planning for Election Day. This organization must be nonpartisan and must have the active participation of Republicans and Democrats.

In broadest terms, the organization would inform, educate and assist, funding all three functions.

Election officials and the public must be informed of Election Day dangers. Poll workers must be educated to deal with what may happen. And local law enforcement must receive financial assistance for increased vigilance and possible action. Finally a cadre of lawyers must be recruited to take action in the courts as needed.

The political climate now is a storm of fear, hatred, recrimination and disgust. That storm must not be permitted to destroy our democracy