This news article says

Donald Trump’s supporters have been out in force on America’s highways as this year’s election race enters its home straight, blocking roads, bridges and freeways in New York, New Jersey and Colorado and stopping voters reaching polling stations in Temecula, California.

All of these states, except for Colorado, are Democrat strongholds - making it unlikely that blocking access to a polling station would make any difference to the election.

It can also be reasonably assumed that a larger proportion of Democrats have voted by mail, meaning that statistically Republican votes would be more impacted by difficulty getting to the polling station.

Is there any scenario where regardless of whether blocking traffic to polling stations were intentional or not, that it could have a large enough impact to make any difference in favour of the Republicans?

  • 3
    You might be able to rephrase this such that it could work on skeptics. From what I read while doing a cursory search it looks like it may be as simple as people who don't have experience organising rallies make bad decisions and end up accidentally blocking off roads that can't handle a huge volume of traffic (someone else on skeptics might dig deeper and find something else though). I really don't think it's a politics question though - since as it's phrased it's about the organisers motivations which is off topic.
    – Brett
    Nov 3, 2020 at 7:53
  • 7
    @Brett These are the same sorts of people driving into crowds of protestors because they 'shouldn't be in the road' & who are celebrating "We shut it down, baby. We shut it down" and "We’re riding him out of Texas. It is hilarious", so I wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt that it's accidental.
    – tim
    Nov 3, 2020 at 8:06
  • 2
    skeptics is only for fact-checking. So "Did Trump supporters block roads in New York, New Jersey and Colorado?" would be fine (although not that interesting, because it's easily google-able), "Why did [...]" would be off-topic. "Did Trump supporters target specific neighborhoods when blocking roads?" would be a good question if you can find a notable source claiming that (skeptics requires claims to be notable).
    – tim
    Nov 3, 2020 at 8:10
  • 1
    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica It's mixed, I think anything partisan in the US politics at the moment is like flipping a coin. I think I can see the backbone of the question now: Is there any way this could even impact the election?
    – Brett
    Nov 3, 2020 at 8:54
  • 3
    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica You've already received answers. Don't move the goalposts. Nov 3, 2020 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


There are regional differences in voter preference in almost every election. So suppressing voters in selected areas where the population favors the opposing candidate can be an effective strategy for election manipulation.

But California, New Jersey and New York are all very solid blue states. There is practically nothing that could happen in these states to make Trump win them. Colorado is perhaps the only one of the states where a Trump surprise win is at least conceivable, but still unlikely (fivethirtyeight election forecast says Trump 42.8, Biden 54.5).

The main purpose of this form of political activism seems to be symbolic.

It might also be worth mentioning that if you read the reports more closely that it's not clear that blocking access to polling sites was really the primary goal of these activists and not just collateral damage from an otherwise peaceful demonstration in favor of their preferred presidential candidate.

  • 5
    It's worth noting that if Democrat voters were "causing collateral damage by otherwise peaceful demonstrations in favour of their preferred presidential candidate," the Republican voters would be absolutely furious.
    – user253751
    Nov 3, 2020 at 14:38
  • 4
    @user253751 It seems to me (as someone not living in the US) that during this election, everyone is looking for reasons to be absolutely furious about anything supporters of the other candidate do.
    – Philipp
    Nov 3, 2020 at 14:40
  • 9
    @Philipp: 'Being absolutely furious' seems to be the theme of this election, granted, but don't discount the hypocrisy. It wasn't that long ago that a few looters on the outskirts of otherwise peaceful BLM protests got blown up into a full-scale antifa intifada in conservative circles. Discounting similar damage on the outskirts of conservative protests is disingenuous. Have it whichever way you like, but don't try to have it both ways... Nov 3, 2020 at 14:50
  • 6
    @TedWrigley Long ago? It's still happening. Every time there's a left-wing protest anywhere, it's full-on "they are burning down America" mode
    – user253751
    Nov 3, 2020 at 15:13
  • @user253751: That's true enough, but as a rule concrete examples are more convincing. Nov 3, 2020 at 15:19

First, it's important to note the the crystalizing moment for this behavior was in Texas, where a self-professed 'Trump train' of people in vehicles harassed and blocked a Biden/Harris campaign bus on its way to an event, blocking traffic and damaging cars ostensibly belonging to volunteers (though it isn't clear those people were actually volunteers for the Biden/Harris campaign). Texas may be starting to turn purple — this election will tell — but it is hardly a blue state by any means. The subsequent events were somewhat more organized and intentional protests chiming off that original spontaneous event.

The subsequent events that happened in blue states weren't intended to directly hamper the vote. They had two goals:

  • To build group cohesion and energy by making a public demonstration
  • To generate conflict that might be interpreted as a threat, and thus act as an implicit voter suppression tactic

These goals are far better served by staging the protests in predominantly blue states, because:

  • Conservatives in blue states feel unheard, and are in most need of building group cohesion and energy
  • Blue states protests are likely to tweak stronger reactions from liberals, generating more publicity and air time than similar events in red states

Any other time I would view these actions as standard and unobjectionable protests (with the inevitable collateral damage from participants on the low end of the moral development scale). Staging them days before a national election, however, starts to take on the sickly odor of an authoritarian regime: shades of the Iranian paramilitary Basij patrolling pro-democracy protests in Tehran, running down random protesters with their motorcycles to intimidate the group as a whole. It's clear enough that many of these 'Trump train' participants would like to imagine themselves as that kind of paramilitary force — groups like the Proud Boys have said as much — but it is disconcerting seeing them start to organize as such.

  • 1
    Why on earth the downvotes? Could downvoters at least post a reason? Nov 3, 2020 at 20:34
  • 1
    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica I downvoted because I'm sick to death of partisan attacks like this. Trump supporters doing a drive-by rally is "voter suppression", but no mention of any violent voter suppression from the other side. Aaron Danielson was murdered for wearing a Trump hat. Trump supporters driving around is voter suppression, but pepperspraying the children of Trump supporters in NYC isn't.
    – Ryan_L
    Nov 3, 2020 at 21:52
  • 4
    @Ryan_L: wow, and you accuse me of a partisan bias... So, one Trump supporter was murdered by someone in an act that that was probably politically motivated, but which certainly wasn't a case of 'voter suppression'. Meanwhile, the Texas GOP tries to toss out 147,000 ballots because they were cast by drive-thru; DeJoy's post office has (apparently) failed to deliver 300,000 ballots in swing states; semi-organized groups of Trump supporters are try to block ballot access; etc, etc. You think #1 is equivalent to #2? Pfft. I accept your downvote as a compliment. Nov 3, 2020 at 23:29
  • 2
    @Ryan_L when were children of trump supporters pepper sprayed in NYC?
    – phoog
    Nov 4, 2020 at 4:11
  • @phoog foxnews.com/politics/…
    – Ryan_L
    Nov 4, 2020 at 5:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .