All across these divided states of America, voters are looking to the Nov. 3 election with a combination of fear and dread.
Hope and change, the buoyant message that helped carry Barack Obama to the White House 12 years ago, seems not so much a memory as a fossilized remnant of some far-off land.
Some Democrats fret that President Trump will subvert the law to stay in office. Some Republicans worry that left-wing agitators will rage and riot to ensure former Vice President Joe Biden replaces him.
Normally, tensions ease once the votes are cast and a winner is declared. This time, many are concerned that election day will not end this rancorous campaign season but rather will usher in a period of unrest that will only drive this deeply fractured nation further apart.
— Mark Z. Barabak
“I know [Trump] is willing to do whatever it takes to win the election. He is going to say that the votes weren’t right.... ‘I want a recount.’ He’s not gonna be so quick to step down. It’s just going to be a never-ending thing.”
Courtney Steele, an insurance broker in Atlanta
“The big thing that bothers me is rioting. Thankfully, I don’t see it on the streets here.”
Trump supporter Robert Shatto, a retiree from Santa Clarita, Calif.
“I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that we’re going to see a lot more conservatives, a lot more Trump supporters, voting in person, and a lot more Democrats being a bit more cautious and voting via mail.... If on election night we see a Trump victory and then, as the ballots start coming in from mail-in voting, we start seeing states flipping, I’m worried about how that might look.”
Biden supporter Christopher Shatto of Santa Clarita, son of Robert Shatto
“I’m not voting because I’m afraid; I’m voting to get someone who’s a little smarter than [Trump] is.”
Tony Sambrano of Westminster, Calif.
“The way Trump is setting it up, he’s making it sound like, in case he loses, that it was all fake, it was all rigged against him. So that’s what I’m concerned about — that he’s going to be tough to get out.”
Michael Martinez, a retired union carpenter in Las Vegas
“I feel the Democrats have instilled this desperation.... They’ll do anything, pulling all the stops out.”
Jeanine Davis of Huntington Beach, Calif.
Trump’s “people, his followers, his core, will lap it up like honey.”
Kate Yarboro, a writer, was speaking of the president’s unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud, which she called “baloney.”
Trump is “just trying to get more people from his side to come out and vote. Just the way the other side says, ‘They’re trying to keep all you people from voting!’ If you don’t see what’s happening on both sides, you’re not looking very closely.”
Dave Gorrasi, an undecided voter from Green Township, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati
“There’s a heightened sensitivity because of the violence that has been demonstrated in the media” at the hands of law enforcement. “That’s where this is coming from.”
Thea Marie Perkins of Valencia, Calif.
“Ain’t nothing to do about it. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. It’s going to be OK. Everyone’s blowing everything out of all proportion.”
Jackie Dodd, a Trump supporter in Atlanta
“It’s hard to trust anyone, to be honest. Everyone seems to be out for themselves.... People are losing their minds.”
Shad DeLacy of Kenosha, Wis., an uncommitted voter
Times staff writers contributing to this story: Mark Z. Barabak from Las Vegas; Jenny Jarvie from Atlanta; Tyrone Beason from Kenosha; Melissa Gomez from Huntington Beach; Arit John from Santa Clarita; Melanie Mason from Oshkosh; and Jim Rainey from Cincinnati.