Could America face a potential coups d’etat?

The Election of 1800 was one of America’s most bitter and divisive elections, pitting the incumbent (and unpopular) John Adams against Thomas Jefferson.  But one of the greatest happenings of a young democracy was John Adams accepting the will of the people and peacefully stepping aside.

But with the Election of 2016, should we fear that should Donald Trump lose he will accept the will of the people?  The evidence is adding up that he may not.

On August 2nd, Trump made the claim that “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged. I have to be honest.” But his claim was more alarming when he said:

“I’m telling you, November 8, we’d better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged,” Trump added. “And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.” – CNN

Is this just bluster and bravado to provide cover for losing?  Or is this a signal?  This was also months ago, and honestly can be lost in the shuffle of Trumpisms that play out each week.

But yesterday he was sounding the call again:

In an interview with the New York Times on Friday, he backtracked: “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.” — The Guardian

This time the New York Times felt it was an attempt to “unnerve” Clinton going into the next debates.  But what of these loyal Trump followers?  In late winter, when protesters were interrupting rallies, Trump encouraged violence — and his supporters followed suit. At no time did Trump attempt to dissuade his followers not to be violent and early on invited it.

Some of his followers are a rabid bunch.

So the unanswered question is this: just how many Trump supporters are willing to violently protest should he lose the election?  He has already invoked “2nd Amendment” remedies against Hillary:

“Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump said. CNN

The big picture remains: if he loses the election and casts it as rigged, will his fervent followers begin to use “2nd Amendment” options to protest what they overwhelmingly feel is a rigged election?  Despite evidence that voter fraud is rare, half of Trump’s followers disagree. The very reason Trump rose from the Republican field is the groundswell of anger among the GOP base.  It’s dry kindling awaiting a match and some oxygen.

Surely we won’t reach this point, right? Consider that national and local Fraternal Order of Police associations are endorsing Trump. They had not endorsed any Presidential candidate since 2008. Recently in Cleveland, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association endorsed a president for the first time ever — and it was Trump.  The first responders to stand and meet a citizen uprising… support the candidate whose followers who would be these protesters.  While not all police officers are lockstep with Trump, their union is and that’s cause for strife internally.

There is a simple way that any fear of an post-election uprising could be contained.  Key Republicans could come forward after each Trump statement about election fraud and rigged elections and say they believe in the voting process, and that just like in the Election of 1800, we can drag our candidates through the mud but we respect the outcome of the election. But their silence right now is tacit approval for their candidate and the possible mob in waiting.

And while a coups d’etat is unlikely when post-election the military will still be under the control of the sitting president, we should nonetheless be concerned.  Revolutions begin at the grassroots.

  • J.

 

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4 thoughts on “Could America face a potential coups d’etat?

  1. I don’t think there’s much to worry about. Organized disruption and advocating violence is generally a hallmark of more liberal groups. When was the last time anyone heard of a Conservative protest blocking traffic, turning into a mob of looters or turning violent? How many Conservative organized protests did we see at Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders rallies?

    Most of the incidents of violence at Trump rallies were instigated by outside protesters trying to block people from attending, causing general disruption or initiating violence themselves. That doesn’t excuse the behavior of any Trump supporters that decided to mix it up. But if people are antagonized, regardless of their political leanings, there are always going to be a few that will lash out in retaliation.

    While I don’t think he thought people would take him seriously, it is true that Trump was completely irresponsible to initially suggest that violence was an acceptable response to protesters. However it is not accurate to say that he never attempted to dissuade the violence. I think there was a point where he realized his mistake and when protesters started to disrupt his rallies he called for people to not use violence (you can find examples on youtube) and has repeatedly denounced violence as an acceptable response when asked about it in interviews.

    So on election night, get out your drinks and snacks, watch the biased news channel of your choice and enjoy the night. And be thankful that we live in a country where we know that we’ll only have to suffer the winner for four years before we get another chance at non-violent revolution. 🙂

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    • The Bundy Ranchers were right wing and anti government. While they didn’t loot stores, the did their share of damage to public property and cost the taxpayers plenty. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were also far right terrorists trying to settle a score. I know of no left wing group that suggested using 2nd Amendment options against a political foe nor use truck bombs.

      You also make the supposition that left wing protests intend violence, which has not been the case. Yes, violence has occurred, but I have not seen a single politician say “they deserved it” like Trump has. The candidates response is the key here. Violence and looting should not be condoned and those groups damage their cause without doubt.

      The question remains… if Trump loses and radical fringe groups begin violent responses (let’s hope you are right and there are not), will he denounce it? Will he make a plea to accept the results of the election? Hard to answer right now, isn’t it?

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  2. BTW – in case it was misinterpreted, when I say watch the biased news channel of your choice, I don’t mean to imply that you seek out biased sources. That was just snark at the expense of “journalists” – because there are no longer any unbiased news sources.

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  3. And we will disagree on whether he really denounced violence, as it is always sleeved in a retort that doubts sincerity. And at no time can I think of another politician who condoned first, then condemned later. Almost to exclusion there are always condemnations.

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