How worried should we be about a Trump coup?

Alfred W. McCoy, who’s observed many a military coup, thinks that a coup to keep President Donald Trump in power was, and still is, a real danger.

Trump’s attempt came in three stages, he wrote.

First there was a proposal by Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser, to invoke martial law to overturn the election.  

This was taken so seriously that all 10 living former Secretaries of Defense, including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, issued an appeal to the armed forces to remain neutral in the coming struggle.  

Then a Trump loyalist in the Justice Department suggested the department intervene to challenge the legitimacy of the election result by charging fraud.  

When Acting Attorney-General Jeffrey Rosen refused, Trump threatened to replace him.  He only backed down when Trump’s own appointees at Justice, including the President’s counsel, threatened to resign as a group.

Finally there was an attempt to use the threat of force to prevent Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the election results.  A crowd of protesters broke through police lines to enter the Capitol (and in some cases were allowed in).  

The Defense Department refused a request by the Mayor of Washington, D.C., to send in the National Guard, which was on stand-by alert.  Finally the Secretary of the Army, bypassing the chain of command, gave permission for the Maryland National Guard to intervene.

Mike Pence, unable to find a legal justification for refusing to certify the vote, did his constitutional duty.

All this shows is that there is still respect for the rule of law in the USA, even among Trump appointees.  US American freedom and democracy aren’t quite dead, although they’re in bad shape. 

But the failure of the Trump coup also shows that he does not have the support of the types of people who support military coups in other countries.  I mean the top levels of the military, the “intelligence community,” the super-rich and the heads of big corporations.  

None of them have any reason to feel dissatisfied with Joe Biden.  I think the outcome would have been very different if the alternative to a Donald Trump had been someone such as Bernie Sanders, who threatened their power and wealth.

Then, too, conditions in the USA are much as if a kind of military coup has already taken place.  

The billionaire class is able to thwart popular and necessary legislation.  People live in fear of losing their livelihoods for saying the wrong thing.  A lawyer is going to prison for the crime of having won a lawsuit against a big oil company.  Torturers have impunity while truth-tellers are punished.

And yet, people whom I respect, argue that there is a real and present danger of something worse.  

And it’s true.  Things could be a lot worse than they are now.  Things haven’t reached the point where I, personally, think I have reason to fear—not yet.

LINKS

American Coup: a Recurring Nightmare? by Albert W. McCoy for Counterpunch.

The Whole Country Is the Reichstag by Adolph Reed Jr.

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One Response to “How worried should we be about a Trump coup?”

  1. Alex Says:

    I believe that even in 2024 the senior officials of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement apparatus will refuse to support Trump shenanigans.

    However, if a critical mass of state officials align with Trump, we could get a constitutional crisis that goes to the Supreme Court. It would get ugly no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

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