Electoralism/Democratism

Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun

This article is obviously not free of bias, given the source, but the scholars that are cited in this piece are serious scholars, particularly Robert Pape. Pape’s comparison of the political situation in the US at present to Northern Ireland in the late 60s or Yugoslavia in the late 80s is accurate. I think a future US that resembles Northern Ireland during the “Troubles” era is more likely than a full-blown civil war of the Yugoslav variety. The latter would require the full collapse of the state and civil society, and I am skeptical as to whether the US is anywhere near that point, although I am less confident in making such a statement than I would have been pre-pandemic. But recent events are extremely similar to the escalation of conflict in Northern Ireland in the late 60s.

As for whether Trump could successfully pull off a coup where he would essentially become a strongman semi-dictator under a pseudo-constitutional facade (like Putin or Erdogan), in order to do that he would need the support of substantial sectors of the ruling class, including the military, intelligence services, corporations, banks, media, etc. I’m not sure there are enough ruling class elements that are fully committed to a Trumpist coup to make that happen. The military and the intelligence services have been very anti-Trump, and the majority of the capitalist class and obviously most of the media has opposed him as well. I don’t really see him pulling off a coup with only the furthest right sectors of the capitalist class (like the My Pillow guy, Betsy DeVoss, or the local bourgeoisie in the deepest red states). At the very least that would be very difficult, and would likely only happen if there was near-total acquiescence by the majority of the ruling class and power elite. I am not convinced those sectors would be okay with ceding that much power to Trump given his instability and unpredictability.

By Barton Gellman The Atlantic

January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.

Technically, the next attempt to overthrow a national election may not qualify as a coup. It will rely on subversion more than violence, although each will have its place. If the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.

The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.

Who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. It is not even apparent who will try. Democrats, big and small D, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, have taken passing rhetorical notice, but their attention wanders. They are making a grievous mistake.

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