Donald Trump seems to have a form of coup on his mind. A coup, though, often involves a military takeover. In the post Cold War world, such coups have occurred in Asia, Africa, and South and Central America. According to Wikipedia, about half have been successful and half unsuccessful. None have occurred in Europe or North America. The U.S. has never experienced a coup.
Yet a coup is mostly plotted by a group that is out of power against at the group that is in power. Trump’s coup would be a first: a coup of a person currently in power against a person duly elected but not yet in power. Trump has tried every legal means even, up to the Supreme Court, to reverse the outcome of the election, without success. His next scheme is to convince Mike Pence to vote against confirmation of the Electoral College tally in Congress and reverse the outcome of the election. But Pence and his advisers have advised Trump that this is not possible. Pence’s verification is merely a ceremonial function. Trump doesn’t seem to understand this and is now close to labeling his once trusted ally, Pence, as a RINO, a Republic in Name Only.
So what’s next? A military takeover? Certainly lockstep white supremacist groups would support Trump on that ploy, but they are scattered throughout the country and not under the direction of any one group. They could hardly be unified in such a short period of time before the official inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20. What about the U.S. military? Though he has supporters among soldiers of the various branches there does not seem to be any movement towards unity or unusual troop movements of any kind. Military leadership also seems to indicate a lean towards steering clear of any political alliances. Trump has installed some of his puppets in positions of civilian leadership in the Pentagon, but they are most likely not in a position to coordinate a coup. That would take long term planning and a unity of purpose. And it would take officers and soldiers willing to carry out such orders. It’s possible but not probable that would happen.
Still, Trump is mentally unbalanced enough to try something to create the chaos needed to justify something like martial law or a foreign war that would require him staying in power. This is also unlikely since such a war would require much planning and coordination among the military services. Time is not on Trump’s side. If this was Trump’s hope, he would not be playing golf in Palm Springs as he currently is. There would be the rumblings of a war footing and, other than the stray submarine in the Straits of Hormuz, there are no further rumblings.
So given all of the above, I predict that Trump will indeed leave office on January 20, still kicking and screaming perhaps, like a child throwing a tantrum, but leaving just the same.
Am I saying there is nothing to worry about? No. With Trump being as unstable and demented as he is, he is totally unpredictable. His supporters are equally unstable and demented. We, as involved citizens, must be sharply vigilant and mindful between now and Inauguration Day. We have seen our democratic form of government is resilient but not immune to tyranny.
I, myself, will not breathe easier until Joe Biden takes that oath of office and moves into our White House.