UPDATE November 19, 2020.
Coup d’état underway
For the latest news reports, see
1) Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump uses power of presidency to try to overturn the election and stay in office,” Washington Post, November 19, 2020 (11:02 p.m. EST).
2) David A. Fahrenthold, Beth Reinhard, Elise Viebeck, and
Emma Brown, “Trump’s escalating attacks put pressure on vote certification process,” Washington Post, November 19, 2020 (8:14 p.m. EST).
3) Maggie Haberman, Jim Rutenberg, Nick Corasaniti, and Reid J. Epstein, “Trump Targets Michigan in His Ploy to Subvert the Election; In a brazen step, the president invited Republican state leaders in Michigan to the White House as he and his allies try to prevent the state from certifying Joe Biden’s clear victory there,” New York Times, November 19, 2020 (8:02 p.m. ET).
4) David E. Sanger, “Trump’s Attempts to Overturn the Election Are Unparalleled in U.S. History; The president’s push to prevent states from certifying electors and get legislators to override voters’ will eclipses even the bitter 1876 election as an audacious use of brute political force,” New York Times, November 19, 2020
By Thursday, November 19, 2020, news reports confirmed that the Trump strategy is to prevent state certification of Biden vote majorities, presumably with a view to denying him a majority of 270 electoral votes when the Electoral College meets on December 14. Proceeding in this manner, Trump could be “elected” President.
While there is much discussion of “faithless electors” and of Republican legislatures ignoring the popular vote and appointing Trump electors to the Electoral College, these scenarios do not appear to be even remotely plausible.
Consequently, they must be viewed as red herrings, as feints to distract attention from the only strategy that has any possibility of success. That is the strategy of denying Biden 270 electoral votes on December 14, and throwing the election to the House where in a “contingent election” with each state having one vote, Trump could win the Presidency.
To succeed, Republican officials would have to violate state laws requiring them to act otherwise. Should they act pursuant to the vast conspiracy of Trump and his collaborators to overturn the election results, they would be committing state and federal felonies which punish conspiracies. They might well be prosecuted, by both state and federal prosecutors, and could end up spending years in prison.
The cost for individuals who commit acts which further Trump’s conspiracy to overthrow the election results, which would amount to an attempted coup d’état, could be extremely high.
Indeed, by engaging in conspiracies to violate both state and federal laws, Trump may have sealed his fate. Not even a pardon by Vice-President Mike Pence of his federal crimes would protect him from state prosecutions for conspiracy to violate state laws.
Trump’s collaborators, who may be expecting protection through Trump pardons, would similarly remain liable for conspiracies to violate state laws.
Any Republican official contemplating participation in Trump’s conspiracy, should think long and hard about his or her future.
REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND OTHER LEADERS MUST NOW DECIDE: WILL THEY JOIN TRUMP’S ATTEMPT AT A COUP D’ÉTAT. OR WILL THEY OPPOSE IT?
OR WILL THEY ARGUE THAT THEY JUST WANT TO SEE HOW IT WORKS OUT?
Original article, published November 18, 2020.
1) Nick Corasaniti, Jim Rutenberg, and Kathleen Gray, “Threats and Tensions Rise as Trump and Allies Attack Elections Process
Confrontations have escalated in swing states, with elections officials in both parties facing threats of violence, as the president and other Republicans try to subvert the country’s voting system,” New York Times, November 18: 2020, updated February 1, 2021;
2) Amy Gardner, Robert Costa, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, “As defeats pile up, Trump tries to delay vote count in last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on Biden victory,” Washington Post, November 18, 2020 (8:47 p.m. EST), Updated February 1, 2021;
President Trump and his co-conspirators appear to be moving forward to execute a vast conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the results of the November 3, 2020 Presidential election.
Key elements include:
1) Filing numerous frivolous lawsuits with a view to delaying the certifications of the votes at the state level, which are needed in order for the state, in accordance with its laws, to appoint electors pledged to the winning candidate by December 14, the date on which the Electoral College meets (in separate meetings in each of the states) to cast their electoral votes for the President and Vice-President;
2) Exercising pressure on Republican state legislators to appoint the electors regardless of the popular vote, in states whiv Biden won but which have majority Republican legislatures;
3) Carrying out a massive campaign of lies alleging electoral fraud, when none exisrs in fact;
4) Ginning up an atmosphere of violence and threats against electoral officials to influence their decisions;
5) Direct intervention by Trump or his co-conspirators with state election officials in order to influence the vote (e.g., Sen. Lindsey Graham’s intervention with the Georgia Secretary od State): and
6) Decapitation of the Defense Department, intelligence agencies and agencies charged with protecting the integrity of the elections, leaving the U.S. basically defenseless against Russian and other foreign interference in the electoral process to help President Trump.
We are faced with a defeated incumbent President who is willing to use every move in the fascist authoritarian playbook to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election, and to seize power through what amounts to a coup d’état.
The Democrats need to wake up, understand the nature of the fascist threat, and pull out all the stops in a battle to defend American democracy and the rule of law against a fascist attempt to seize power.
The Trenchant Observer