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US political tensions stoke fears of post-election violence

Trump or Biden landslide will not remedy the fraying democracy's underlying ills

Members of the far-right Proud Boys attend a rally in Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 26.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The American presidential election on Nov. 3 is shaping up as a radical break from conventional wisdom. A close vote would likely be followed by fierce legal wrangling, leaving the result undetermined for days or weeks. Many U.S. experts warn of this possibility.

But something even worse might happen. Even with a decisive outcome, the transfer of power may be neither peaceful nor smooth.

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