Analysis: New bombs show that Trump’s coup threat was real and failed
In the tense days after the election last year and after the uprising in the Capitol, many observers were initially unwilling to use the word coup – knowing that such language was explosive. The surreal experience of witnessing an attack on constitutional guard rails that was once considered inviolable was sometimes difficult to process. And coup terminology skeptics also suggested that Trump’s efforts were little more than insane and incompetent political theater.
Yet the conspiratorial and sometimes silly attempts to overturn the elections – particularly by Trump’s legal team – are making no unprecedented effort to less mendaciously destroy America’s democratic traditions.
The newly released information builds on what was already known about a seemingly expansive multifront effort to destroy a peaceful and just transfer of power. The ex-president, for example, launched a huge disinformation campaign that convinced millions of voters that the election was stolen, backed by an indulgent conservative media spreading his lies.
Last month, it emerged that Trump had tried to pressure the Justice Department to solve electoral fraud and let him and his allies in Congress take the power steal. Trump, of course, instigated another aspect that is often seen in coup attempts against legitimate power – a mob – by having supporters invading the Capitol.
His corrupt behavior sparked a spate of new electoral laws in Republican-led states that could make it easier for Trump or a like-minded constitutional arsonist to steal power in the future. And he supports a slew of candidates for government office like foreign minister and creates a potential pool of local officials who may be interested in meddling in future elections.
“The Real Problem for American Democracy”
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the spate of revelations is that the threat to American democracy is not over. It just speeds up.
In the letter to Raffensperger, Trump made the absurd request that the official initiate the process of decertifying the 2020 election. There is no such mechanism for this. Biden’s victory has long been legally and constitutionally ratified. And many allegations from Trump seem to show that he is now fully convinced of his own lies and propaganda – a fact that certainly raises questions about the mindset of a former president who may be contemplating a future White House candidacy.
But Trump’s behavior is already infecting the integrity of the 2022 midterm elections as he has effectively used his strong standing with his party to turn acceptance of his election lies into a qualification to compete in GOP races. A Trump run in 2024 would likely expose democratic values to an even bigger attack.
All lies also have a tangible effect. For example, a CNN poll last week found that 78% of Republicans don’t believe that Biden won last November and is therefore not the legitimate president.
“The real problem is that we have one of the two old parties who are completely bought into this matter and don’t want to hear anything other than a confirmation of this untruth that has been said and which in my opinion is the most dangerous thing one faces.” our democracy, “Matthew Dowd, a former strategist for ex-President George W. Bush, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday.
Woodward and Costa’s book, published Tuesday after days of revelations, features a new story about Conservative attorney John Eastman who devised a plan to convince Pence to evict voters from seven states that are Republican falsely claiming electoral irregularities and declaring Trump the winner during the electoral certification process ultimately disrupted by the uprising.
The plan called for “howls” from the Democrats – an amazing understatement, given that the process effectively mandated electoral theft. So the memo contained a replacement plan for pence that said none of the candidates had received 270 votes, so the election should be turned over to the House of Representatives, CNN’s Jamie Gangel and Jeremy Herb report.
Such a step would usher in a constitutional tie in which each state delegation would receive one vote. Since the GOP controlled 26 state delegations, a majority could vote for Trump to win the election.
The plan was received with great skepticism by two of Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, Costa and Woodward. But that hasn’t stopped the former president and his henchmen from continuing to claim that Pence simply chose not to use the power inherent in his office.
Of course, this authority does not exist.
Eastman told CNN the memo was just a preliminary draft. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from convincing Pence to keep him in power or fueling false beliefs within the conservative movement that Trump is the rightful president. In any case, Pence wrote to act on the morning of the 6th.
The opposite of democracy
The most amazing thing about these reports is that Trump, and some people around him, actually believed that a US election could simply be ignored if the president didn’t like the outcome – the exact opposite of democracy.
While Trump’s preferred scheme has not caught on, it seems highly alarming to be sketching a roadmap whereby several states could prevent certification of elections in a future race to deprive a candidate like Biden of the 270 votes required for the Win the presidency are required.
The New York Times report said the Trump campaign had already concluded that outlandish claims that voting machines had been disrupted – aggressively promoted by the ex-president’s lawyers – were not true. But the campaign apparently felt no civic or moral obligation to say so. Later media appearances by Rudy Giuliani and another pro-Trump attorney, Sidney Powell, broadened the conspiracy theories – and Trump used the claims to further his lies about electoral fraud.
And in another nugget from Peril, Costa revealed Tuesday on CNN that Trump had rejected the idea that his legacy could best be served by accepting his loss in a conversation with his confidante Hope Hicks.
“I don’t care about my legacy. My legacy doesn’t matter. If I lose, it will be my legacy. My people expect me to fight and if I don’t I will lose them, ”Trump said. according to the book.
This stance – rooted in a lie and the president’s own flawed character – seems to motivate Trump’s increasingly feverish allegations of stolen votes and possibly a new attempt to regain power. And it explains why the danger that threatens American democracy is far from over.