Former Manitobans living in U.S. brace for possible civil unrest following election

His local grocery store is boarded up, famous statues are covered and there are talks about riots.

Former Manitoban Sheldon Charron, a Trump supporter, is gearing up for widespread burning and looting if the former reality TV star is re-elected Wednesday.

“Yeah, there’s fear. I mean I had my vehicle vandalized three times just being parked at the rally and having people seeing me come and go just with a camera.”

Charron, 52, said he’s experienced unrest first-hand at large Trump rallies in Beverly Hills in recent months.

“I’ve learned to park very far away. The last time, they basically smashed my passenger side mirror,” Charron, who now lives in Santa Monica, Calif., said.

The business consultant and filmmaker — who hails from Winnipeg and once had a horse ranch in Anola, Man. — said after he left a souvenir Trump hat in his car, it was keyed.

Former Manitoban Sheldon Charron now calls Santa Monica home. He says his car has been vandalized in recent months while he’s attended Trump rallies. (CBC)

He’s learned to disguise his political views while in liberal California but decided to be open about them for this story ahead of Wednesday’s election.

“If I was alone per se it could be bad so I definitely don’t advertise it.”

And although he aligns with some Democratic values and believes there should be universal health care for everyone, he sees Biden as a threat who’s gone too far to the left.

An attendee takes part in a Trump rally in Beverley Hills on Halloween. (Sheldon Charron/Submitted )

“I really think that although Trump has his faults, I really think that things are just going to spiral even further back if Biden gets in.”

Charron will be watching results come in Wednesday night at a watch party for a Republican nominee for Congress.

Anxiety in Florida

In the battleground state of Florida, former Winnipegger Jason Merrick is also feeling slightly anxious about Wednesday night.

“I just want to get [Wednesday] over with and deal with the consequences after,” the accountant with two kids said.

“I don’t like them seeing this type of unrest but on the other hand, you know, they have to know what the real world is all about and this is real-world stuff.”

Former Winnipegger Jason Merrick lives in Florida. He has U.S. citizenship and has already cast his ballot. (CBC)

Merrick has U.S. citizenship and voted a couple of weeks ago. As a business owner, he said he kept government waste in mind when voting.

He plans to flip between channels to get election results but is prepared to go to bed not knowing who won.

“In 2016 when I was watching the election I actually went to bed because I thought Hillary Clinton had basically won and then I woke up and my phone was blowing up: Donald Trump won! Donald Trump won!”

‘My kids will look back at this’

The one thing that he does know is that whatever the result — Wednesday will be a historic night.

“My kids will always look back at this. This is going to be talked about for a long time. Voting is kind of the thing to do right now so it will be interesting.”

Back in California, Emma Dacquisto is rooting for a Biden victory and feels the tension in Los Angeles, which she now calls home.

“It’s a weird atmosphere here. The only thing people are talking about is the election and it’s really scary,” Dacquisto, a former Winnipegger said.

Emma Dacquisto is rooting for a Biden victory Tuesday night. (CBC)

Dacquisto said she fully expects there to be civil unrest regardless of the election result and plans not to leave her home.

She thinks Biden is the best choice for America.

“I just want to see a normal presidency for a while, might be nice, like just the return of some sanity. It’s been tough watching someone be in office that is so clueless and so harmful to so many people. The rhetoric that is coming out of the administration right now is disgusting and I want to see that change.”

Dacquisto said she wasn’t yet sure if she should stock up on wine ahead of Wednesday night or just ‘bury’ herself in her phone as results pour in.