In Democratic circles, the talk about the presidential election has increasingly turned to fears of a violent uprising by white supremacists and neo-Nazis if Donald Trump loses.
The nervous talk holds that Mr. Trump’s alleged racist followers are being primed to take to the streets to challenge election results should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prevail Nov. 8. They say Mr. Trump’s followers reveal their revolutionary fervor at rallies by chanting “lock her up” about the former secretary of state.
“Should we take the concern seriously? I think so,” said Ben Manski, a liberal activist leading the group No More Stolen Elections, which was formed in reaction to Republican George W. Bush’s win in the contested 2000 election.
“I don’t take neo-Nazis lightly. I have encountered them, and I am a Jew,” he said. “They don’t operate by the same set of rules that the rest of us do.”
Lynn Joslyn, a former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, said the topic bubbled up in conversation at a recent dinner party at her home.
“People think there are going to be some riots,” said the 85-year-old Democrat. “Is [Mr. Trump] putting this information out to the news subtlety that if he doesn’t get elected, all this chaos will ensue? I wonder.”
Still, she said her Democratic friends in the battleground state of New Hampshire were more terrified of Mr. Trump winning the White House than of the potential for a revolt by white supremacist.
News reports have fueled the fears, with commentators saying Mr. Trump foments unrest with his claim that the election process is “rigged” against him. The scare builds upon the narrative, which has been aggressively promoted by Mrs. Clinton and her allies, that Mr. Trump is in league with white supremacists and the alt-right movement.
“Trump is losing and is seeking to delegitimize the election, and he is the megaphone behind this reckless and dangerous talk encouraging violence and imprisonment of his opponent,” said Democratic strategist Craig Varoga.
“He seems to be doing two things — one, trying to scare minority voters from going to the polls on Election Day, and, two, impugning the election itself. In attacking the integrity of our country, he sounds more like a dupe of the old Soviet Union than like a mainstream American,” he said.
The Trump campaign rejected the accusations.
“We reject hatred in any form and we will not allow it to be a part of our campaign and movement. Individuals who hold these appalling views do not have a place in our campaign or in any political discussion. As we have said multiple times — and hopefully the media will correctly report it — we disavow any connection or association with any group spreading hate,” the Trump campaign said in a statement to The Washington Times.
Without a doubt, an undercurrent of violence has marred the 2016 presidential race. But the perpetrators have come from both the Democratic and Republican camps. Trump supporters have landed blows on protesters at his rallies, and Clinton supporters have attacked and bloodied Mr. Trump’s followers.
Over the weekend, a Republican Party headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina, was firebombed. A swastika was spray-painted on the wall, along with the message: “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else.”
In a tweet, Mr. Trump blamed “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina.”
In another Twitter post, he expressed relief that no one was injured. “With you all the way, will never forget. Now we have to win. Proud of you all!”
Mrs. Clinton also expressed shock on Twitter: “The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.”
Fox News political analysis Juan Willaims found a way to trace the firebombing back to Mr. Trump, saying that sort of political violence is what people fear from his supporters.
“We are such a divided country — and this is one of the scenarios people are discussing — what happens if Trump loses, because Trump does engage in a kind of language about violence and assassination at his events and Second Amendment people taking care of him,” Mr. Williams said on the network’s “The Five” program. “If you stir this kind of pot, I think you don’t know the angle you’re going to get.”