America’s Lack of Defenses against Authoritarian attempts to seize power.
America is in many ways defenseless, because before Trump no one could imagine an authoritarian attempt to seize power.
Elements of a Successful Coup d’état
To succeed, you have to control or “dominate”:
Interference in Military Chain of Command
1) Jon Bateman, “The Guardrails Are Off the U.S. Military; It’s no longer guaranteed that the Pentagon will resist unlawful orders from the president;And the rot is deeper than you think,” Politico, June 6, 2020 (07:00 AM EDT).
Jon Bateman is a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously was special assistant to then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.
1) Trump sends his “little green men” to police Layette Square and Washington, D.C.
c. Armed militia
1) Michigan State House
2) Armed men along March
3) armed men at demonstrations
a. Attacks on Press, Lies, and Propaganda
1) The Leader can control news and flow of information.
2) Independent news media can be discredited or silenced.
3) State propaganda or Trump propaganda) will dominate the media and other news sources.
aa. Fox News
bb. One America News
c. Social media.
1) Why Twitter is such a big deal.
2) Russian help
3. Direct Control of Executive Branch
a. Assumption: Justice Department and Intelligence agencies can be subordinated to the Leader’s will, both defensively and offensively.
1) E.g., Russian interference will not be reported.
b. Attack on Post Office
1) Can be used to block voting by mail during coronavirus pandemic
4. Neutralization or Control of Congress
a. Unconstitutional Defiance of Congressional Oversight Authority
b. Political neutralization of Impeachment Power
c. Judicial review blocked or neutralized
5. Control or Neutralization of the Judiciary
a. Assumption: The Supreme Court and Federal Judiciary will not block Trump’s federal government actions.
b. Assumption: Supreme Court will uphold President and Executive if Challenged by State or Local officials, or private parties
6. Subservience or Neutralization of State and Local Leaders
a. Assumption: State and local leaders can be coerced (bludgeoned) into subservience or acquiescence.
1) Use of budget
2) Use of Federal law, Executive decrees, and Supreme Court
7. Big Business and Financial Sector Will Acquiesce, and Help
a. Assumption: Big business and Wall Street will go along.
1) Benefits to companies
aa) Benefits to companies (tax breaks, subsidies, bail-outs, regulatory changes)
bb) Benefits to key business decision-makers (e.g., key officers)
“The Question Isn’t Whether Trump Will Go Full Authoritarian—It’s How We’ll Respond; We know that no one is coming to save us from Trump; So how will we save ourselves?” The Nation, June 2, 2020.