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Boarded up windows in D.C. Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

America's cities are bracing for violence as soon as tomorrow.

Driving the news: Landmarks, stores, and restaurants in New York, Washington D.C. and other cities are boarding up their doors in fear that Election Day will bring another blow to their businesses, many of which are already reeling from the pandemic and damage from protests.

Why it matters: The election’s outcome could lead to civil unrest, no matter who wins. People all over the country are preparing for the worst.

In photos
A store with Trump graffiti in Soho, New York, on Monday. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
Craftsmen attach wooden panels to shop windows for protection in the upscale Fifth Avenue shopping mile. Photo: Christina Horsten/picture alliance via Getty Images
Craftsmen attach wooden boards to the shop windows of the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. Photo: Christina Horsten/picture alliance via Getty Images
A person passes by a business boarded up in the Soho area. Soho was one of the areas where most of the looting occurred in June. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)
The White House is seen behind fencing and barriers at Black Lives Matter plaza, 3 days before the election. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
Concrete barriers are put in place to stabilize black fencing that surround the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building across from Lafayette Square. Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images
People walk past a shop being boarded up in precaution to unrest related to the election. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Go deeper: A safe, sane way to navigate election night — and beyond

Go deeper

Updated Feb 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Off the rails: Episode library

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first line of the Axios Manifesto is "Audience First." That's why we created our unique Smart Brevity style to get you smarter, faster, on topics that matter. But it also means we won't shy away from important stories that are worthy of more detail and more of your time, like our Deep Dives, Axios Investigates and now this deeply reported series, "Off the rails.” 

If you're in a hurry, check out the highlights:

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.