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The Trump Coup?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Is Donald Trump, with his several lawsuits claiming election fraud and Attorney General William P. Barr authorizing U.S. attorneys to investigate such claims, engineering a coup that would keep him in power despite his loss to Joe Biden?

That scenario was graphically painted today in an opinion piece by Miami, FL attorney Todd Michaels, published in News & Guts, a news, media, and production company created by journalism icon Dan Rather.

Michaels writes as follows:

This is an attempted theft of an election. The Constitution, states’ laws, and precedent indicates that if there was indeed a legitimate dispute and a state couldn’t certify their election by December 14, state legislatures could use that “uncertainty” to select their own slate of electors.

There are Republican state legislatures in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona. Trump doesn’t need to win in Court. He simply needs to tie things up in enough of those states until December 14 when legislatures appoint electors to cast ballots for their states.

That is why he is claiming fraud and irregularities with no evidence. He told us months ago that if he lost the election, he was going to do this. He is now doing it. It’s all about his own power, and he would sacrifice our country for it. Sure, if there were legitimate issues he has a right to have those determined. What he doesn’t have a right to do is use the Constitution to destroy the Constitution. That’s what he is doing.

Michaels' theory is not new. Such a strategy has been discussed online and in the media as a distinct possibility, but for many observers it seemed too far-fetched to be of concern. But consider what Trump also is doing:

  • He's fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper who had clashed with Trump over his efforts to draw the Defense Department into domestic politics, and CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray could well be next.

  • He refuses to allow federal officials to cooperate with President-elect Biden's transition team, which stymies their ability to form a new government at a pivotal time in our country's history.

  • He is supported in his efforts to drag out the election outcome by Republican leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) among others. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his commitee would investigate "all credible allegations of voting irregularities and misconduct."

Is all of this simply coincidence, or is it a shrewd orchestrated effort by Trump to delay matters until the states appoint their electors, with key GOP-controlled state legislatures appointing Trump supporters who would cast their votes for Trump, defying the actual vote outcome in their states?

Some have suggested that all of this is simply to give Trump "an off ramp", to be able to say that he's not a loser, that the election was stolen from him. A way to soothe his bruised ego. White House sources have been quoted as saying that he will finally give it up, perhaps by this coming weekend, according to MSNBC today.

But until that happens, there is reason to be concerned. Donald Trump actually could be trying to engineer a coup to hold onto power, an act that would destroy our democracy, as guaranteed by the Constitution, for which Trump has shown nothing but disdain.

Wrote Attorney Michaels:

Even if democracy wins, this puts the Country and its continuity in peril. This is the time to fight like our future is at stake. It is. It’s incumbent on all people—including Trump supporters and Republican electeds to put the Country and the Constitution before his power, to not allow him to create a crisis in order to maintain power in the face of an electoral defeat. Or America is no more. That’s not hyperbole. The Founders would be horrified.

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