Around 300 people participating in a “Stop the Steal” march on behalf of President Donald Trump waved flags and signs Sunday afternoon as they wove their way through downtown, shouting, “Do not concede! Do not concede!”
“Basically what we’re saying is we’re trying to make sure that every vote is legally counted and that the election has integrity,” said Joe Garza, secretary of the Log Cabin Republicans of San Antonio. “Regardless of whether Biden wins the ultimate [result], we have to shine a light on the process.
“Of course we’re Trump supporters and want him to win. But the main idea is having a good election process.”
Trump decisively won Texas but has been projected to lose his overall reelection bid to former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate; multiple news outlets called the final two states of Georgia and North Carolina on Friday. Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes, well over the 270 needed to win the presidential election.
In response, the “Stop The Steal” movement has gained traction in the United States, even drawing protesters to the Texas Capitol in Austin on Saturday. The movement is based on unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud and has been strengthened by Trump, who has tweeted multiple times since Election Day that the election had been “stolen.” Republican Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have declined to encourage Trump to concede, though they both say Biden should receive presidential-level intelligence briefings.
The Republican Party of Bexar County and local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans organized Sunday’s march, said Michael T. Murillo-Zuniga, Republican Party of Bexar County executive director.
Murillo-Zuniga, who attended the Austin “Stop The Steal” event Saturday, said he wanted to show that Bexar County had a “conservative voice” and support for Trump.
“Part of it is shedding light that there has to be more faith and transparency in elections and how votes are counted and how elections are done,” he said. “If [an individual] wanted to watch how votes are counted, why can’t he watch how they are counted in person?”
Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted on Nov. 5 that Texas does allow poll watchers to observe the voting and tallying process. The Texas Election Code states that certified poll watchers can be near enough to the counting team to verify ballots are being tallied correctly. Poll watchers are appointed by political parties or candidates.
At Sunday’s march, few of the attendees wore face coverings. The protesters walked from Travis Park and through downtown San Antonio, shouting chants such as “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” and “Trump 2020! Trump 2020!” They eventually passed the Alamo and looped back to their starting point less than an hour after starting their route. Along the way, the marchers were met with honks of support and whoops from filming bystanders, though a few people watching played “FDT,” a song by YG and Nipsey Hussle released in 2016 in protest of Trump ahead of the presidential election that year.
At the same time, people in around 60 decorated cars celebrated Biden’s projected victory with a caravan through San Antonio. The car parade, organized by the Bexar County Democratic Party, began at Pittman-Sullivan Park on the East Side and did not intersect with the downtown march. Speakers included BCDP Chair Monica Alcantara, who urged participants not to “lose steam” in the months ahead, even though a Democratic candidate was poised to take the White House.
Mimi Planas, the president of the local Log Cabin Republicans chapter, said she would accept Biden’s victory – on one condition.
“When Trump concedes, we will stand down because we have no choice,” she said.
Though Planas also told the crowd that they would not accept the election results until Trump himself conceded, Murillo-Zuniga did not affirm that. Instead, he said votes needed to be certified and litigation finished for them to recognize the election results. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in multiple states; none has been successful so far.
“It’s the process,” he said. “We’re going to wait for the process. … The official stance is we finish the process, and that’s it.”
Freelance photographer Bria Woods contributed to this report.