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    Considering The Unthinkable: A Trump Coup

    If you look up "presidential results 2020" on Google, you will find a pretty clear cut case: Democratic nominee Joe Biden has 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump's 232. Under any normal circumstance, this would be as clear a case as any, but these are not normal circumstances.


    Vice President Mike Pence has said that the administration is still intent on "four more years" despite an obvious defeat. Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has vouched in bizarre press releases about unsubstantiated cases of fraud, even as both Michigan and Georgia solidiied that Biden had won those states.

    Donald Trump's admiration for dictators and despots seems to stretch toward a legitimate attempt, the first that I am aware of in American history, to establish a coup d'état which would place him as an unelected sovereign.

    When Trump first ran for president, multiple people compared him to a fascist. Glenn Beck, a once famed right wing radio host who has since joined the Trump Train, compared him in 2016 to Adolf Hitler. Others have remarked that he is "Cheeto Mussolini." WW2 analogies may be a bit extreme - Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin all evolved out of genuine paramilitary movements and had ambitions and tactical abilities beyond that of a bloated con artist.

    Nevertheless, there is serious precedent for someone like him in Latin America. Journalists once compared Trump's run on press conferences to those of Fidel Castro. Both Central and South America have been rift for a significant amount of time with coups and counter coups, presidents who end their terms with the possibility of incarceration, and an extreme polarity between right wing reactionaries and leftists.

    Trump opened his campaign with absurdly demagogic comments about Mexico that would have been more appropriate for a Mad TV skit than a presidential statement, saying that "when Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people with a lot of problems. They're sending drugs, they're sending crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people." During a debate with Hillary Clinton, he referred to "bad hombres" coming over the border from Mexico.

    Trump repeated that phrase in a phone conversation with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. Nieto has since been succeeded by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), a progressive politician who previously made several runs for the Mexican presidency.

    The thing about corruption is that you can't really explain it. It doesn't hold up to the logic and consistency that we take for granted in an open society. You just know that it's there. Corrupt figures don't necessarily line up with the people you think they should line up with - deception about who is who is a big part of it. Our ability to not really be able to read it is what makes the possibility of it in this country so palatable. AMLO has reportedly cooperated greatly with Trump while he has been president, and has been one of a few world leaders, including Vladimir Putin, who was defiant in taking their time to recognize the winner of the 2020 election. I once mentioned on this site that AMLO seemed to be working with Trump and a commenter said that it was the result of Trump blackmailing Mexico. However, AMLO seemed pretty firm in refusing to recognize Biden as the winner, saying that Mexico "is not a colony." 

    The unprecedented flirtation with authoritarianism in the United States comes at the same time that progressive ideas have more force and weight than ever. It is a political climate much more like what exists south of the border than what we are familiar with here. A Trump coup, if successful, would be completely unacceptable for many pockets of America and an era of cancel culture, safe spaces, and lockdowns would already have many people aghast at an American dictatorship ready to experiment with radical alternatives.

    How all of that would play out in real life is anyone's guess, but it would look a lot more like the "shithole countries" that we used to lecture or intervene in than what we are used to.


    The glimmer of light is that Biden and the Dems form a much more cohesive unit than Trump and them. Trumpers were even calling Tucker Carlson a traitor for just asking questions.

    I think it's more way more than a glimmer of light, I think it's part of the equation that Biden has included in his calculations all along.!

    He's said over and over including before the election stop worrying about a coup, that's not going to happen, that no one (and he meant no one in power) is going to stand behind him. He has also said it disturbs him that the delay method is to cast doubt on the integrity of the election process in this country and also that every day of delay will cost lives.

    He knows the GOP are divided, he knows why so many in power don't speak up, they are like held hostage by his fans and he knows which ones are truly on board with Trumpism.

    He's been in government for decades, knows everyone in Congress, knows what they really feel, is friends with many Senators on both sides, is one of the few that McConnell respects.

    What I don't get is why so many who voted for him don't believe him, that he knows WTF he's doing here and is a hapless victim. Those who voted for him thinking that way: why? Did you want a hapless stupid victim?

    Like he says geez guys cmon. Get real. He's guaranteed to y'all Trump will leave  (so has McConnelll) expected problems, is handling them like a champ while trying to avoid stoking further divisiveness.

    Really people need to quit worrying about a coup and pay more attention to what Joe says, especially if they voted for him. Doing so just adds to the troubles of unifying. Conspiracy mongering vs. conspiracy mongering.

    Added plus: V.P. Elect is still a member of the current Senate including Intel Committee. Gets fist bumps from the likes of Lindsay Graham upon returning to the floor. If that doesn't tell you the conspiracies about coups are kabuki and kayfabe, I don't know what will.

    A rhetorical exercise about "what would happen if attempted", inspired by Trump's petty tyrant behavior, is great for learning about our system. But don't fall for it being reality right now. GOP is divided and Biden Dem incoming is still basically quite united with plans for folding in many more, and Biden has a lifetime of experience figuring out what works and what doesn't/

    Does the Biden team have access to COVID and national security information with the release of funds by the GSA?

    "stop worrying about a coup, that's not going to happen, that no one (and he meant no one in power) is going to stand behind him."

    I think Biden is handling it fine. But really you didn't need inside information to see how this would play out. It was obvious that Trump didn't have a team loyal to him. Just sycophants and grifters. Most of those in power weren't going to help him with a coup. And even most of the judges he appointed aren't going to help him. Not even his supreme court justices. 

    We need to take Trump's coup gambit seriously until he is actually literally no longer the president of the United States.

    Professionally, it's possible that Trump doesn't really have people that loyal to them. However, on the streets it is not. I live in Northern California and I never met people so aggressively open about supporting a Republican president until Trump came around. Bush may have earned more electoral votes but he never had a group of people who liked him this much.

    I can only imagine the rest of the country, where he actually won states. If you look back at all sorts of fascist movements from Mussolini to Golden Dawn, it's always street support, people willing to fight, hurt and get hurt, that was really vital to their movement and disloyal people in power only fuel the perception of someone combating a corrupt establishment.

    All the evidence I've seen is that the left is just as much or more willing to fight on the streets as the right. As far as just getting out there on the streets the left is many times more willing to occupy the streets than the right. The million women march protesting Trump's election had more than a million people on the streets of Washington. The million maga march for Trump had a few thousand. Even if that few thousand were more inclined to fight they would have been rolled over by the million.

    Take it as seriously as you want but it seems to me this coup talk from Trump is just an example of the cliched Shakespeare quote, “a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,  Signifying nothing.”

    I don't see anyone with serious power taking it seriously, though. That's the thing. More often I am seeing ridicule from those in the know. True that writers without much power are producing click bait of a kind on topic. Some of it is quality "what if" stuff, that's all; some of it is stoking fear for clicks, just like the Trump troll does.

    "Taking it seriously" doesn't have to be "pissing your pants".
    It can simply be having the right lawyers in place to make the right arguments,
    handling the messaging, deciding how much bandwidth to give it vs.
    pursuing the incoming Dem agenda, being prepared if he goes military,
    et-cetera, et-cetera, et-cetera. It doesn't *preclude* using ridicule,
    though on the other hand, if you're trying to convert more fence sitters,
    make sure not to ridicule them too much.

    Frankly, from my perch it looks like it's going well -
    giving America a lesson in democracy, showing the courts aren't rigged,
    showing the votes aren't rigged, bringing on board the election officials
    *of the other party*.

    More and more national Republicans have had enough of the charade,
    and a number of those who didn't fold before are folding now.
    Rudy looks ridiculous, Sydney Powell looks ridiculous *and* has been kicked out.
    The GSA woman looks more and more ridiculous as the court cases crumble
    and the consensus builds.

    And for those who are looking, there's none of this brazen renillegal egade stuff
    that Karl Rove, Roger Stone, et al pulled in 2000.

    Taking it seriously just means keeping the heat on until he's finally out and not assuming it will work out on it's own. It's Donald Trump we are talking about, after all.

    #TrumptheFool now trending based on this CNBC business reporting:

    I.E. Investors probably betting on dumb masses fears about a coup right now. Hmmm, should I invest in that fearmongering publication, seems like it's getting a lot of traffic

    10 Days That Shook the World

    free at last?

    Quick & clear rebuke of Trump by a GOP member of Congress. https://t.co/yJ5z4RZJD4

    — Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) November 24, 2020

    but not gonna "stop this" because?

    I wonder how much his campaign rakes in every day he keeps ‘fighting.’ pic.twitter.com/aT0oK75UgD

    — Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 24, 2020

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