Hush now — coup in progress

Trump hasn’t conceded yet. That’s not supposed to happen. We should be getting worried, because it’s not just one delusional madman in power, we’ve also got the Senate Majority Leader saying there’s no reason for alarm over his intransigence, and when Moscow Mitch declares that there’s nothing to be worried about, it’s time to panic. We’ve got senators like Roy Blunt saying that Trump may not have been defeated at all. The Secretary of State has announced there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.

Meanwhile, hordes of fanatics are building a defiant mob on social media. Trump is all about sucking up to his “fans”, so he’s going to continue to shy away from that graceful admission of defeat, if a narcissist like him were even capable of such a thing.

There’s also this:

It’s a purge to pave the way to seizing military control.

You’d think the election is now over, with some continuing ballot counting in a few states that won’t be enough to overturn anything. The Republicans do have a trick up their sleeve, though — abusing our archaic electoral college to override the popular vote. Apparently, there is a convenient loophole in which a state legislature could override the appointment of electors to stack the deck, and Pennsylvania, as one example, is a state where the Republicans control both houses.

At Trump’s urging, the state’s legislature — where Republicans have majorities in both houses — purports to exercise its authority under Article II of the Constitution to appoint the state’s presidential electors directly. Taking their cue from Trump, both legislative chambers claim that the certified popular vote cannot be trusted because of the blue shift that occurred in overtime. Therefore, the two chambers claim to have the constitutional right to supersede the popular vote and assert direct authority to appoint the state’s presidential electors, so that this appointment is in line with the popular vote tally as it existed on Election Night, which Trump continues to claim is the “true” outcome.

The state’s Democratic governor refuses to assent to this assertion of authority by the state’s legislature, but the legislature’s two chambers proclaim that the governor’s assent is unnecessary. They cite early historical practices in which state legislatures appointed presidential electors without any involvement of the state’s governor. They argue that like constitutional amendments, and unlike ordinary legislation, the appointment of presidential electors when undertaken directly by a state legislature is not subject to a gubernatorial veto.

They’ve also got the Supreme Court in their back pocket.

While we were dreading the possibility of an October surprise, and marveling that their efforts were so pathetic, maybe we should be more concerned about a January surprise. There is precedent.

Indeed, refusing to wage a much more organized, public campaign to challenge Trump’s coup attempt is exactly the kind of strategy Democrats went with 20 years ago in Florida during the Brooks Brothers riot — and look how that turned out. We got an illegitimate Bush presidency that gave us the Iraq War and a financial crisis that ended or ruined millions of lives.

This time around it could be even worse — the end of whatever’s still left of American democracy.

Remember that empty, exhausted, defeated feeling we had as the lawyers took over Florida and nitpicked their way to effectively shutting down ballot counting, and the Supreme Court declared Bush the president? And then most of us resigned ourselves to accept it, saying that Bush couldn’t be so bad that it warranted our side disrupting democratic institutions in the way the Republicans were doing? Are you ready to feel that way again?


  1. Josh Bunting says

    Listen to the latest 5-4 podcast episode, they go through all this stuff and explain why none of it is likely to work

  2. rorschach says

    The VP Mike Pence, head of the Coronavirus task force, has gone on holiday this week, as El Paso puts up 10 extra morgues to cope with the corpses.
    Don’t tell me these criminals care about governing for the American people.
    Now you can argue now whether this is a real coup attempt, the swapping out of all these leading people for Trump acolytes may speak for that, or whether he is just trying to create a Dolchstoss narrative, to further weaken democracy, energise his base to win the Senate runoffs, and prepare a 2024 candidacy.
    Both these options are very bad.

  3. stroppy says

    Yeah, just the attempt sets a precedent. One more step toward normalizing the end of democracy.

    PBS had an alarming program about the rise of Nazis in Germany that draws parallels. Frustrating thing is they should have been showing this type of thing four years ago. At least. And not just PBS, which has a reputation for being boring egg-head stuff, thanks in part to decades of comedians pandering to the lowest common denominator in their audiences.

    “If you pluck a chicken one feather at a time nobody notices.”

    Get ready. It’s coming…

  4. Saad says

    stroppy, #4

    Yeah, just the attempt sets a precedent.

    And even if it doesn’t work, it will go unpunished.

  5. says

    Agreed. The fact that it could even be attempted is terrifying. PZ cites the 2000 election, but I think Russia in 1991 is a more apt analogy. That is a worst case scenario, but it’s definitely in the cards.

  6. Saad says

    ^ Basically signaling to the GOP that they can try this again in the near future with even just a mildly competent version of Trump and it will work. I think the actual damage has been done to the American system of government.

  7. stroppy says

    Trump has been periodically accusing Democrats of trying to stage a coup. Projecting as usual. As people start to wake up to what’s happening, expect him to get out in front of objections by flooding the zone with that accusation.

    And people who are constantly saying “don’t worry your pretty little heads” about what’s going on are part of the damn problem, if not the problem.

  8. hemidactylus says

    Remember Florida? Our COVIDiot, Scott Atlas following governor Duhsantis is sticking his very brown nose into this crap:

    That and the “dictator moves” at the Pentagon have me deeply concerned.

    There’s this guy laying out the possibilities on the table given Pentagon shakeup and potential state legislature moves :

    And what does this signal?:

    I thought Trump acting like a wound festering burrowed tick was no more than a joke, but whatever US prestige he hasn’t eroded is quickly fading alongside the legitimacy of our democracy itself. But that was the point all along. Long con.

  9. raven says

    It’s a purge to pave the way to seizing military control.
    Are you ready to feel that way again? (Resigned to accept a fascist dictatorship)

    Could be.
    Things happen for reasons.

    Most of us aren’t ready to accept a fascist dictatorship. By a little over half the voters anyway.
    It that happens the US democracy is over with.
    So is the USA itself.

    Why would the Blue states want to live in a GOP dictatorship?
    At that point, the US government loses what is called “legitimacy”.
    The west coast and the Northeast could just go their own way.
    It doesn’t have to be an all out shooting war, although that is a possibility.
    The Blue state governments could just tell everyone not to pay taxes to the federal government.
    Without those trillions of dollars, the federal government would collapse.

  10. raven says

    Head of nuclear weapons agency unexpectedly › breaking-news › 2020/11/06

    5 days ago — Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the head of the National Nuclear Security … Mehta gets an update on the NNSA’s work to modernize America’s nuclear stockpile.
    NNSA has oversight over the development, maintenance and disposal of nuclear warheads. While the agency falls under the purview of DoE, much of its budget is set by the Nuclear Weapons Council, which is largely controlled by Defense Department officials.

    In the list of Trump purges above, not mentioned is the recent firing of the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration which oversees our thousands of nuclear weapons.

    Who knows what this means but it is suspicious, especially since Trump is out in a few months. Why bother.
    Could it be that the Trump administration is planning on nuking a few Blue states? Or are they afraid that shortly after their coup, some Blue state nukes the White House?
    Got me.
    But as already mentioned, things happen for reasons.

    PS In an all out civil war, the possiblity that it does go nuclear is high. The US has 40% of the world’s nuclear weapons and they are evenly scattered across the country. Instead of prolonged battles that would kill millions, someone might decide to have a short war instead. One that kills millions.

  11. says

    That’s a hell of a screen play you got there. I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that our military personnel remember that they swore allegiance to the United States and its constitution and not their commander and chief.

  12. lotharloo says

    To be honest, that has already made me suspicious that perhaps it was the Republicans and Trump who have cheated. Trump always projects. Whenever he accuses someone of doing shading things “X”, my first reaction is to suspect that he himself is doing “X” (e.g., Hunter Biden is being accused of things that every Trump kid has done). After all, it was Democrats who had massive polling advantage

  13. raven says

    I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that our military personnel remember that they swore allegiance to the United States and its constitution and not their commander and chief.

    So am I.

    FWIW, at the end of the USSR, there was a coup attempt on the new government. The commies tried to get the Red army to do it. They more or less refused.
    The armed forces are from the people and it is hard to get them to shoot their friends, relatives, and neighbors. One of those watching this was a KGB agent, Vladimir Putin.
    The same thing happened in all the Eastern European Red block states. Even though the state controlled the army, it didn’t help in the end.

    I would hope the US armed forces would refuse to be part of destroying the USA, but who knows what would happen. Hope isn’t much of a strategy.

    PS At the end of the Soviet Union, there were many people who thought, “It can’t happen here.” and then, “This isn’t happening here.” and finally, “Now what?”
    You can bet if something like that happens here, a lot of people will die (like in Russia) even if few bullets go flying. That is what happens when societies collapse.

  14. garnetstar says

    I read an analysis that claimed that the republicans in congress are only going along with Trump in hopes that he’ll campaign for them in the Georgia senate races.

    A vain hope, if so. He won’t lift a finger for anyone but himself, and, if he does hold the rallies he likes so much, all he’ll do is whine about how great he is and how badly he was treated.

    If this report is accurate, the congressional republicans are willing to throw the entire country into probably-bloody chaos and greatly undermine or destroy democracy just to control the senate so that they can continue to not-govern. Typical.

    But if they overplay their hand, and get Trump to act out too much, and sound crazy and chaotic themselves, this might backfire and tip the Georgia races to the democrate! Certainly, should SCOTUS overturn Obamacare before those elections, it is so popular that that will help push the senate towards democrats, so that they can put in some replacement.

    As I say, these people wouldn’t last ten minutes in Westeros.

  15. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    My own take on this is that there are a few die-hard Trumpista who actually think he can postpone certification long enough that Biden doesn’t have the 270 votes when the EC meets in December. The election would then go to the House, where, voting by state delegations, Republicans have a slim majority.
    This presumes that
    1) he can get enough state legislators and/or state election officials to go along with the coup–probably a long shot, although PA and maybe WI Rethugs (who are a particularly slimy bunch) seem ready to play along.
    2) that he can prevail in both state and federal courts–also unlikely in my opinion. Even in a 6-3 conservative dominated SCOTUS, I have a hard time seeing Roberts or Gorsuch (despite their clear partisanship) signing on
    3) It presumes that the electors would not respond by blunting the effort and faithless Trump electors defecting
    4) It presumes near unanimity among House Republicans in going along with the coup–and I think at least some Rethugs are daunted by the prospect of a completely unconstrained President Trump.
    5) It presumes that the American would not respond to the coup by shutting the country down tighter than a bull’s ass during fly season.

    In short, I think it is unlikely Trump would prevail. So why go along with the charade? Basically, because it furthers their political ends.
    1) It fires up the base for the upcoming GA run-off elections.
    2) It fires up the base nationwide.
    3) It delegitimizes Biden/Harris in the eyes of the base, giving the fuckery McConnell is about to unleash a fig leaf of cover.
    4) It demonizes Kamala in the eyes of the base and gives them talking points to try and make her unelectable in 2024.

    And remember, by 2024, the Rethugs will have a brand new, freshly gerrymandered electoral map and a whole raft of new voter suppression laws. Unless we respond aggressively to this blatant treason, we are fucked.

  16. Rob Grigjanis says

    stroppy @4: Rick Steves, who does travel shows on PBS, has been doing specials on the rise of fascism in Europe for the last two years. A promo here.

  17. specialffrog says

    While I agree that the main goal of McConnell and the rest is to hang on to Senate control and use the whole thing as an excuse to try to block everything Biden does, I also think that they are up for just seeing if they can hang on to power.

    The whole lot of them are cowards, so they want to maintain deniability as long as possible. But if it looks like they can get away with it I don’t see any Republicans of note going against the coup.

  18. xdrta says

    @ #9

    “And people who are constantly saying “don’t worry your pretty little heads” about what’s going on are part of the damn problem, if not the problem.”

    Yeah, people who actually think things through, understand the system, and realize that this is all a useless exercise by Republicans are the problem. That makes sense.

  19. raven says

    If Trump/GOP do seize power, we do have a high probability of something like the end of the USSR.
    The Blue states won’t play along and millions of people will be in the streets every day like in Belarus.

    That is just the start.
    Our society will also likely go into some form of collapse.
    To take a few examples:
    .1. Who is going to keep sending out Social Security checks? Of course, they aren’t checks any more, they are electronic transfers of information into bank accounts. The USA is an old country and 64 million people get Social Security. Many of those depend on that as their main or sole source of income.
    .2. Which brings up another point.
    Most of the wealth in the USA today is simply book keeping. It’s 0’s and 1’s in computer data bases. If the dollar crashes or the electricity goes out, trillions of computer dollars just go poof.
    The 1% oligarchy becomes the holder of worthless assets, similar to what happened with Germany’s old hyperinflation.

    We know from the collapse of the USSR and Bush’s Great Recession that modern Hi Tech societies are very fragile. It doesn’t take much to collapse them.

  20. stroppy says

    People who urge people to ignore the problem because they are in denial are part of the problem generally.

    However, people who are specifically propagandizing people to ignore the problem are the same people who are the source of the problem.

  21. PaulBC says

    Even if it does work, is there a downside to an actual coup in which 75 million voters really know they were disenfranchised as opposed to 2000 where the Constitution sort of permitted what happened, Brooks Brothers rioters and SCOTUS aside, and 2016 where it was a catastrophic outcome (again with the help of the electoral college) but not apparently the actual results? There’s some cover to even a sliver of deniability.

    In this case, President-elect Biden has won with a solid EC margin (better than Bush in 2004) and a popular majority. Do we really just grumble and demonstrate? Do we handle it with ever nastier opinion columns in the NYT? Ever more cutting jokes from Stephen Colbert?

    If Trump is still in the White House on January 21 with no process in place to remove him, then I would reluctantly consider the union fatally compromised and it really would be time for states to start seceding if they chose. WTF happens in a situation like that?

    A coup? Seriously? I considered this mostly unthinkable until Pompeo made his “joke” or trial balloon or whatever it was. If it happens, there is no reason to expect our response to fall in the range of the thinkable.

  22. says

    Cheetolini is a petulant child, capable of saying, “if I don’t get to keep all the toys, I’ll destroy them so no one can play!”

    The SCOTUS can’t overrule the vote or prevent counting as it did in 2000, it’s too late to do that. It would require a military coup to overthrow the government. And based on the words of current and former US miltary brass, they’re more likely to play Quintus than be co-conspirators, more likely to do what Soviet generals did during the 1991 coup. They were willing to integrate Transgender people when Obama ordered them to, and continued to speak positively of Trans people even as Cheetolini tried to eradicate them. I expect them to uphold the constitution, not back the trumpster fire.

    My biggest fear is the slight chance that Cheetolini might attempt the (literal) nuclear option if he can’t get his way. He knows he’s likely to face legal consequences once he’s removed.

  23. PaulBC says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space@18 On (5) yes it presumes that “blue state” America is the goose that lays the golden egg, and will just keep laying, perhaps nervously, even it watches you sharpen the cleaver. And sadly, we have done little to prove otherwise. As a thought experiment, I really wonder how we’d respond to an actual coup as opposed to “coup-y shit” we’ve all watched and sucked up.

    Note: I count “constitutional” means such as faithless electors or the other approaches (that I don’t fully comprehend) to be coups just the same. They still amount to wide scale disenfranchisement without any conceivable justification.

    President-elect Biden won the election far beyond any shadow of doubt. Do appalled but comfortable Americans allow themselves to be disenfranchised anyway? God only knows and I hope it doesn’t come to that.

  24. says


    Could it be that the Trump administration is planning on nuking a few Blue states? Or are they afraid that shortly after their coup, some Blue state nukes the White House?

    I think both are unlikely, since they require the brass to turn on American citizens.
    However, a quick war with, say, Iran, followed by a declaration of a state of emergency? Oh dear, I guess we can’t have a transition now. We’ll have to wait for things to calm down. Spoiler: It’ll never calm down.

  25. anat says

    Intransitive @25 and a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    If Republican-controlled legislatures decide to send Trump electors despite the popular vote in those states being for Biden, the Supreme Court decides whether to approve that or not. According to this analysis on Vox :

    But there may be one more catch. Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh recently embraced a legal theory that, in Gorsuch’s words, “state legislatures — not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials — bear primary responsibility for setting election rules.”

    If three other Supreme Court justices agree with this line of thinking, they could potentially grant partisan state legislatures far more leeway to do what they want with elections, without having to worry about governor’s’ vetoes, secretaries of states, or elections boards. And if those partisan state legislatures want to appoint electors who will give Trump a second term — well, maybe the Supreme Court will let them do it.

  26. PaulBC says

    I have started making a point of always writing “President-elect Biden” (e.g. in facebook posts) even though it is cumbersome and silly to say “President-elect Biden won with an electoral vote lead greater than Bush’s in 2004.” but I think it’s important that every statement about this election leaves no wiggle room about the outcome.

    It was not a wiggly election, even though it was in some ways disappointing. President-elect Biden’s lead in Georgia is 14112, greater than Trump’s lead of 10704 in Michigan in 2016. The lead in Arizona is still creeping down a bit so who knows where it will land, but it is unlikely to be reversed. And of course neither of these are even necessary.

  27. PaulBC says

    And here’s the thing. I would not keep company with the “sovereign state” assholes and those who believe they don’t owe taxes to the federal government. I’m an ordinary American citizen who said the Pledge of Allegiance as a kid and sometimes as a parent at school assembly with my own kids (not always, but when conscious of it keeping silent for the “under God” words that were not part of the original and don’t belong there).

    My allegiance, however, does not extend to whatever kind of fascist state would exist if Trump were to remain in the White House with no ongoing process to remove him on January 21. As for the flag, it seems silly to pledge allegiance to a fabric pattern… However, I will take Old Glory over the blue line flag or some of the appalling things they’ve made with Trump’s face plastered on them. So the flag is fine, but if these assholes want to way it over their failed state, I do not have to respect this abuse. I hope that if they do go full-on fascist that they get “creative” and make no mistake about the fact that they no longer stand for the United States of America.

  28. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Anat, but the only way you can give the position that the legislatures determine electors even a veneer of Constitutional respectability is by the legislatures establishing the procedure for determining electors prior to the election. Deciding to contravene the procedures a posteriori would be difficult to argue even with a straight face, let alone any validity. I do think you could get Thomas and Alito, and maybe Justices Rapey McKegstand and Handmaiden to go along, but Gorsuch at least makes a pretense of being an originalist, and Roberts, despite being a partisan hack, is worried about legitimacy.
    If they try this and succeed, not just the Constitution, but the entire US Code goes through the shredder. And the thing is, when you resort to extra-Constitutional means to get your way, your forfeit control of the results. Just ask the moderates in Egypt.

  29. PaulBC says

    And a coup with “a veneer of Constitutional respectability” is still a coup. I think it’s significant that supporters of President-elect Biden have not hesitated to celebrate his win with crowds, fireworks, smiles, screams, and hugs. Usually we’re a bunch of hand-wringing wusses about that kind of thing.

    You can’t nullify an election that everyone aside from some extremists understand to have been resolved. Or you can, but you become a fundamentally different nation with about as much of a “veneer” of legitimacy as Vichy Franche.

    Laws and founding documents are important, but ultimately, governments “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed.” There is no changing this.

  30. says

    If One Term Trump is still president on January 21st, the first thing the disenfranchised should do is hit him where it hurts and raze every Trump property to the ground. Don’t even leave the fairways standing.

  31. davidc1 says

    Wish i hadn’t read that ,amurica has far too many lawyers ,loopholes ,and most of all very stupid people .

  32. mnb0 says

    @19 RobG: Pure fascism has (yet?) little chance in Europe. However pseudo-fascism (ie authoritarianism very much like trumpism) is in charge in Poland and Hungary.
    Thanks to the political strategy you promoted and which has been empraced by American progressives for at least 20 years structural reforms hardly have been discussed, let alone promoted. It was only a matter of time before this crisis would happen. Be a man instead of a hypocrite and take your responsibility. This crisis may go away, the candidate you promoted so fanatically won’t do anything to avoid the next one. And the next one will be worse. Your strategy has been a failure and will fail in the future.

  33. mnb0 says

    The header of the Sirota article reads: “Why Are Dems Not Sounding The Alarm?”
    Because the Dem political elite is the product of the system that made this crisis possible. Their elite position is justified by pseudoprogressive like RobG and LeoB. PZ used to be one of them, but (better late than never) at least has opened his eyes and recognizes that the American political system is rotten to its core.

  34. says

    I have sinned and looked at the prediction markets. On the question, “Who will win the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election?”, Trump is still trading at 15 cents. WTF

  35. Rob Grigjanis says

    mnb0 @37:

    Thanks to the political strategy you promoted…

    I’ve promoted voting for Biden rather than abstaining or voting third party. That’s not a strategy. It’s putting a finger in a leaking dike. An image that should resonate with a Dutch person. Even a rather dim one.

  36. PaulBC says

    marner@40 Well, isn’t that special? When George W. Bush won re-election in 2004 by a much smaller margin, very few people were asking John Kerry to keep up the fight (actually some might remember there was a slightly silly “We’re sorry, world” protest). There is room for legal maneuvering but not for nullifying clear electoral results.

    To be clear, Moscow Mitch is correct with his gross-out smirk that Trump has every right to file frivolous lawsuits. On the other hand, Pompeo throwing up a trial balloon for a coup is something very different. So I don’t care if Trump’s supporters “call on him to concede” or really care much what kind of tantrum he wants to throw.

    Anyone who seriously thinks they can do something with the outcome of disenfranchising 77 million voters by installing Trump back in the White House is in fact declaring war against the United States. I have been disappointed by many outcomes and I have agreed with those who fight. But I am not going to side with traitors, and I would not side with traitors even if the situation were reversed.

  37. wzrd1 says

    I am reminded and comforted by two facts.
    On one hand, Trump hasn’t tried yet to celebrate his five false triumphs.
    On the other hand, his current residence is less than an hour’s drive away from our “grid square eraser” range, aka PA Guard’s MLRS rocket range. One battery of which is fully capable of outscoring an entire brigade of artillery and the rounds are literally on the way to the firing points. Add in, the PA Air Guard is CAS/CAP heavy, dud has a serious problem in being a zero target.
    Along the way, take Raven Rock, severing military comms for the defense zone and eliminating the primary VP hidey hole. That’s where Cheney went on 9/11.

    As for the bullshit that nukes are distributed all over the nation, nope. Most are dismantled in the enduring stockpile and need very serious maintenance to become weapons again, leaving only the 1550 operational warheads in silos, one AFB and on submarines. A set of industrial hydraulic wire cutters can neuter those, once the system is kneecapped out.
    And fully operational remains, it isn’t germane what you will do, what the other guy thinks that you might do that counts and we’re a nation rife with nuclear capable and competent citizens.
    Breaking C3 is trivial. As is literally erasing an entire square kilometer of real estate, to include rendering it unsafe to walk upon for a century.

    Time to impeach and remove for sedition.

  38. PaulBC says

    Rob Grigjanis@41 I think a few people are playing a recording they made before we had an actual, unambiguous fascist in the White House who would mostly likely interpret an election win as a license to start rounding up political enemies. Fortunately, I don’t think there are very many of these bots anywhere left of center. The ones that remain, I dunno, it’s like that Onion article about someone so confused he thinks Ron Paul is still running for something. Times change. People don’t always.

    Though I do wonder about the 70+ million voters who tried and failed to re-elect their Führer. They can’t be blind enough not to see what Trump would do. Do they want me or my friends dead? I considered this and conclude that yes, probably. I don’t mean that they want to kill me. I doubt they’d have the energy (particularly for me, who they don’t even know). But if I just happened to be dead for whatever reason, I doubt they’d skip a beat or even inquire much into the causes. (Kind of like your acquaintance from Chile.)

  39. PaulBC says

    wzrd1@43 Actually, that makes a good case for him staying at the White House though he’d probably be happier at Mar-a-Lago or on the links. It’s doubtful anyone wants to erase the grid square containing the White House along with other architectural collateral damage. (On the other hand, there are plenty of secure places for him, and I’m not sold on the military coming out against this coup.)

  40. marner says

    PaulBC, all I said is given a reversal of positions I would not recommend that Biden concede. M’kay? There are 75,000 votes separating a Biden presidency from a Trump presidency (assuming NC goes for Trump). if Biden conceded in that position without trying every legal possibility I would be pissed. Do I really have to throw in a dozen caveats about how evil DT is to please you?

  41. stroppy says

    @19 Rob Grigjanis

    I’ve enjoyed the Rick Steves shows on fascism.

    In Rise of the Nazis, the parallels are more up front. The behind the scenes machinations are also fascinating.

    After trying to digest the news this morning, I went and channel surfed some over-the-air broadcast TV. The focus on celebrity bullshite was jarring and kind of sickening.

  42. PaulBC says

    marner@46 Well I would expect the hypothetical parallel-universe Biden to concede, just as I expected Kerry to concede in 2004, and which he did. So I still don’t know what you’re talking about. Speak for yourself, if you like. I side with political “street fighters” but not with traitors.

    If you think there is a general principle here, you are sorely mistaken. The outcome was clear for President-elect Biden about a week ago, the morning after the election. Any candidate with the slightest respect for the American system of government would have been preparing a concession speech, and it would all have been over by Saturday, with a peaceful transition of power in the works.

    And by the way, Republicans did significantly better than median polling results. It’s incredible that as sore winners, they still want to cry foul play.

  43. PaulBC says


    Do I really have to throw in a dozen caveats about how evil DT is to please you?

    No, but if you’re a US citizen, and I have no idea, you really do have to stop advocating treason against our system of government “to please me.”

  44. stroppy says

    They cry foul because they are Trump’s animatronic proxies, and that’s what he bids them to do.

  45. says

    By now most of the world has congratulated Biden. Now, I know many countries are pushovers by necessity when it comes to the USA, but this would be a good time for Europe to renew the congrats to Biden and officially set up contacts with his transition team.

  46. marner says

    @ 48

    If you think there is a general principle here, you are sorely mistaken.

    I do not want to get into a point by point; partly because of time and partly because on the larger picture we agree. However, I do think that conceding to ones opponent the same courtesies that one would expect for ones self is an important general principle. The exemplification of positive character traits is something that has greatly suffered over the last 5 years or so. To your point, it is also critical that we demand the same of our opponents. Having said that, and because you love the caveats, in almost every way, Trump has proven to be an enemy of both the USA and of humanity.

  47. marner says

    If you think that allowing our constitutional process to play itself out is treason, we really have nothing left to say. Please note that this only reflects requiring concession before going through all the legal processes. I am not defending Trump who is pretty much indefensible.
    And yes, I am an American citizen and yes, I voted for Biden/Harris.

  48. PaulBC says


    Having said that, and because you love the caveats, in almost every way, Trump has proven to be an enemy of both the USA and of humanity.

    Well, this is oddly (as I said above) not about Trump at all. I still have allegiance to whatever shreds of constitutional process is left, and contesting an election determined this decisively is not keeping up the fight. It falls somewhere between sad delusion and foul treason depending on the motives and the expectation. I would not expect parallel-universe Biden to behave the way Trump is doing.

  49. PaulBC says

    Mostly to marner: Trump definitely has the “right” not to concede, and I would “fight to the death” as they say for his right to file one frivolous lawsuit after another. However, he shows his true fascist colors by doing so.

    But a secretary of state floating a trial balloon for a coup, like Pompeo did, is quite another matter.

    Consider parallel-universe “Squeaker-not-really-a-squeaker Obama loses 2012” where for reasons it would take a better fantasy writer than me to think of, it looks like a win for Romney/Ryan. Secretary of State (who was that, oh yeah…) Hillary Clinton explains that there will be a peaceful transition to Obama’s 2nd term (hahahahaha comedy gold!). Mitch McConnell (curiously enough) comes down very differently on whether it is reasonable to expect a concession from Obama who would require 3 states to reverse the outcome and lost the popular vote. He’ll have some great alternate-Tuesday rule for why this is so (actually, that won’t be needed until the timeline has miraculously merged and brought us to today and he will need a better reason to contradict himself).

    So marner, does parallel-universe Obama along with his Secretary of State simply piss all over the election process because you and I know they’re the “good guys”? What’s your take on that?

  50. PaulBC says

    marner@53: And another question. Suppose parallel-universe Biden makes an absurd legal challenge and somehow wins? Mathematically, this win would not represent the voter’s choice. So does he take the poisoned chalice anyway and serve as a tyrant?

    Sorry, maybe it’s goofy of me to care about such things. I get that we are fighting opponents who do not. No, really I do!

    Just to bracket this a little, I would indeed allow for a Democratic president replacing a SCOTUS seat the way it just happened. I would say (as maybe some Republicans do), it’s a shitty move, but it’s not prohibited, and I support the outcome.

  51. Pierce R. Butler says

    PaulBC @ # 24: If Trump is still in the White House on January 21 …

    Just how would that work on the ground? No doubt the doors are reinforced beyond basic kick-em-down measures, and the windows are reportedly bulletproof, but a regular police tac squad could probably gain entrance with a ram and a few minutes.

    The WH staff includes a few Navy stewards and the like, but Secret Service agents comprise most of the armed muscle there: how many of them will choose to gun down DC cops, Federal marshalls, and their own colleagues? I doubt even Ivanka and the boys would literally go down in a blaze of bullets for Daddy.

  52. marner says

    In principle absolutely. I honestly do not remember the particulars, though. But, Clinton should never have conceded on election night. Too many close races and I do not trust the republicans not to cheat. With that, there should also be a clear message that she would ultimately respect the process and the votes – regardless of outcome. That Trump has not done this is what I am upset about.
    I hope this mostly answers your following hypotheticals too.

  53. hemidactylus says

    Trump is trying to do to the US what he had done to the USFL. BTW did Trump “University” have a football team?

  54. PaulBC says

    Pierce R. Butler@58 Yes, he’d need the backing of at least part of the government and the military. The fact that Pompeo can say there will be a peaceful transition to a second Trump turn suggests that some are prepared to side with him.

    But yeah, improbable scenario. If I thought it was likely I would be a lot more worried than I am just presenting it as a hypothetical.

  55. oddie says

    Daily Beams podcast thinks this might actually just be the big evidence purge and they are getting people on who are more willing to shred evidence. The idea that no one is going to be held accountable for any of this BS basically guarantees it will happen again.

  56. PaulBC says

    oddie@62 If it comes to that, we’ll see. I thought a general strike was an appropriate response to the GOP Senate’s nullification of the impeachment. I also thought that winning a goddam election was supposed to be the thing “cooler heads” recommended over a general strike. I now doubt the ability of the American people to take back power. I just have no idea what will happen. I hope it is enough for Trump to lose every one of his frivolous lawsuits. If not, I wish I had confidence that there was a good response and it was likely to happen.

  57. specialffrog says

    @Marner: The Republicans typically do all their cheating in advance of the polls (voter suppression, gerrymandering, voter purging, etc.) By the time voting has finished it is too late find a way to un-rig it.

  58. says

    @oddie 63
    I can’t say that I’ve seen evidence of it but that evidence purge angle is interesting. Transition related evidence purge that is. Sometimes when I’m arguing with someone and it’s looking bad for them they start deleting all of their comments. Trump is that kind of person.

  59. unclefrogy says

    if there is one thing that can be said about the U.S. population it is that it is pig headed and does not like being ordered around.
    If the entire 47% of the population or more correctly the be voters support the suspected coup attempt that might not be enough. I personally doubt that all of that 47% would go along with what would have to be the martial law it would require to accomplish it in the end. I think it may be closer to 30% then 47%.
    There is one part of this equation I have not heard about and that is ” The Market” the owners and managers of the 1% who own it. They may like the deregulation and tax cuts that help their bottom line but they really do not like market disruption and chaos. The market made a very large gain after the election I doubt that would happen if agent orange refuse to leave and accept the election results.
    Without that support as it is today it ain’t going to happen. the economy is already sliding in the wrong direction we are financing with debt, agent orange likes debt it might work for an individual under a government to have poor credit rating and bankruptcies but not so good for governments. Contractors want to be paid as well as the military and police no money no play.
    I don’t like to have to think about this subject very much it wrecks what sleep I am able to get.
    uncle frogy

  60. stroppy says

    Well, I don’t think the burn-it-all-down crowd cares much about the top 1 percenters and their markets. Trump only cares about himself, screw everyone else. Keep winding up the base, foment stochastic terrorism or whatever, escalate, escalate and create enough chaos and people will become more amenable to the kind of order that only SuperFrump will claim to bring. People don’t have to realize it’s a “coup.” That just can’t happen here you know, but dirty commie uprisings, that’s something else… you can sell that… maybe. He only needs to build a sturdy enough nest where he can spawn perpetual chaos to the point nobody can do anything about it.

    Alarms are being raised, if enough people listen that might be enough to short circuit little Donny Dumpsterfire. Or maybe some other, tougher right-wing thug will take him out and take over.

    But I am crabby and speculate…

  61. unclefrogy says

    agent orange does not care nor does his base care about what the 1% care about but old politicians like Moscow mitch and others along with all of the big donors, they are the 1% who pay for access, care and are not shy about protecting their interests nor expressing their desires.
    they are not the whole story just a part that has influence but is often ignored in these conversations
    uncle frogy

  62. PaulBC says

    The best “narrative” that takes this out of coup territory back into normal fucked up US politics is that the GOP can’t afford to abandon Trump before the Georgia Senate run-offs, because they will need him to drum up his awful “base” and get them out to vote.

    And obviously that is very important for Moscow Mitch if he wants to stay majority leader.

    That isn’t really enough for me to say “Relax, it’s not really a coup.” when you have a direct threat of a coup from the Secretary of State. Was it a joke? Yeah, maybe the funniest line since “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Pompeo should be put in jail.

  63. hemidactylus says

    Not entirely comforting given the source, but this was an inept Jedi mindfuck (aka gaslighting) all along:

    “ “At this stage, the fraud that we can confirm does not seem to be enough to alter the election result. We should be honest and tell you that. Of course, that could change,” he said, on his Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

    So now about that attempt at a coup…Carlson?

  64. PaulBC says


    this was an inept Jedi mindfuck (aka gaslighting) all along

    Whatever it was, Pompeo belongs in jail.

  65. anat says

    PaulBC @72: Several players may have non-coupy reasons to encourage Trump’s efforts to hang on to the WH, but if a coup ends up being enacted successfully, neither of them will object.

  66. KG says

    It seems unlikely there will be a serious coup attempt, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously, particularly after Pompeo’s “joke” – we’ve seen that this joke/not-a-joke tactic is a far right favourite. There need to be large peaceful-but-angry street demonstrations (conducted as safely as possible, of course) against the attempts to delegitimise the result, and organization for a general strike and occupations of appropriate places in case a coup is attempted – e.g., if there’s any sign that legislatures in states that voted for Biden are preparing to void results and appoint Trumpist electors.

    As for Trump’s refusal to concede, whether Clinton should have done so in 2012, etc.: there is no legal requirement to concede, but by the same token, conceding does not legally give the opponent the win if it later turns out to be mistaken – it’s not a case of “no-takesy-backsies”. So of course, since it would now take a reversal of apparently clear results in at least three states, Trump should concede, and his failure to do so, even if it were not accompanied by meritless claims of cheating, is a blatantly anti-democratic stance.

    mnb0@37, 38,
    I don’t think any of us need a lecture from someone who has been objectively pro-Trump and hence pro-fascist throughout this election. And PZ has not changed his stance in the slightest; like most of us here, he’s preferred a Biden win to a Trump win, while recognising that Biden and the Democratic establishment are indeed no more than the lesser evil. Your pretence that there has been enthusiastic support for Biden from most of those here who have wanted him to defeat Trump is a barefaced lie.

  67. Saad says

    The only thing that people like mnbo and Vicar have to offer are straw man arguments.

    The response is a simple one: Make your case that a Trump administration is a better option than a Biden administration or shut the fuck up.

  68. logicalcat says

    The only people here who had enthusiastic support for Biden and doesnt think hes a lesser of two evils (because i view the lesser evil argument as a reductionist strawman) is myself and maybe like 2 others if im being generous. Thats hardly most of the blog. Dishonest leftists are fucking cringe. Especially since this tactic is partly responsie for trump winning 2016 and yet have the fucking nerve to say that we are the ones who made this possible? Lol fuck no. Either put up or shut up. Bring a rational argument for not supporting biden.

  69. PaulBC says

    logicalcat@78 I’d summarize my support as “Two cheers for President-elect Biden!” He wasn’t my first, second, or third choice, but we could do a lot worse, and I am as comfortable with him as a human being as I am many others who have some impact on my life. I’m disappointed he didn’t come in with a big Senate majority, because I think he could have had an FDR-style presidency. If we can get Warnock and Ossoff, there is some hope for positive change. If not, at least we dodged a bullet.

    I take integrity seriously, and the fact that Biden was outed as a plagiarist in 1988 really isn’t trivial to me, though I suppose it seems quaint when you have a mob-level criminal in the White House now. Still, Biden’s fine. I have known and worked with many worse people.

  70. Owlmirror says

    Sometimes when I’m arguing with someone and it’s looking bad for them they start deleting all of their comments. Trump is that kind of person.

    I am not so sure of this. Many (most?) Trump Tweets that are obvious examples of hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty remain up. I think he’s more the type to totally ignore what he’s said in the past; not even bothering to look at it.

    However, I think it’s quite reasonable to infer that someone who is advising him/aiding him is that sort of person. I suspect a lot of the ratfuckery is being suggested to him by professional ratfuckers (and the reason they think they can get away with it is because Trump is so indifferent to what has past.).

  71. Owlmirror says

    Something else that I remembered reading about Trump that bolsters the idea that he does his best to forget what’s past: Back when he was new, 2017/2018, there was an article about how Trump had a unique approach to any and all paper material being put in his hands to read: After he was done, he would tear it up and toss it. Since all presidential communications are supposed to be archived, he was literally being followed around by a couple of aides who would pick the document off the floor (or out of the trash can; I forget how much of a litterbug Trump was described as), and tape it back together to be archived. I think there was the idea floated of laminating everything before handing it to him.

    I don’t know what the followup to that was. It may be that the aides were fired and that Trump is tossing his papers to be disposed even now. Or maybe someone explained the whole archiving process with a sufficiently flattering and groveling spin that he eventually gave up the habit.

    Come to think of it, the whole archiving business is why Trump isn’t actually supposed to delete tweets he makes as president. But Trump never deleted anything he tweeted from before he became president either, as best I can recall.

  72. says

    @Owlmirror 82
    I guess tweets don’t feel like much of a reputation problem to him, or I need to look for other ways he might express that. The paper ripping is a dominance behavior. His fixers are one way he tries to cover things up. It will be morbidly interesting to see what he does.

  73. PaulBC says

    @83 I’m of the view that the Trump presidency says more about our failings as a nation than his failings as an individual, because individuals like Trump are common enough and have been studied by psychologists. How he got where he is has something to do with starting out with $400 million of daddy’s cash, but he couldn’t have got to the White House without tens of millions of suckers helping him along.