Election transition fears

As the election draws ever nearer, Seth Meyers takes a closer look at the question of whether there will be a peaceful transition of power.

Although Trump keeps stoking fears that he may not agree with the election results if they show him losing, and this has caused great alarm, I am not so worried. What he would be advocating is a coup and that requires the support of the military. I simply do not think that the US military is going to go along with his attempt to overturn the result of the election even in the unlikely event that his supporters take to the streets en masse to demand that he be allowed to remain in power.


  1. Jean says

    I think you’re underestimating the amount of support he has (or rather the fact that he gives the extreme right all they want) among all the elected republicans. There are already discussions about rigging the electoral college in the red states.

    The main issue is any vote that needs to be counted after Nov. 3. If Biden is not the overwhelming winner of the in person vote anything goes (and even if Biden wins on Nov 3 there will still be a mess). There will be so many attempts at invalidating the votes and with Barr and a rigged Supreme Court and a corrupt Senate and corrupt Governors there won’t need to be any support from the military to have a “legal” win for Trump even if it has very little to do with the actual votes.

  2. Jean says

    I should add that this is what I view from Canada as an interested but powerless observer. I also fear that we will be collateral damage in all this and it is quite amazing and somewhat scary to see how easily the whole democracy structure can be demolished.

  3. says

    I suspect the military will stay out of things as much as possible. That means Trump can’t use them to outright enforce his will, but it also means they won’t refuse any order that has at least some legitimacy. If the Supreme Court signs off on something, the military is likely to follow their lead.

  4. says

    It will come down to if Trump can create enough doubt in the election results that he can try this bloodless coup. The wider the margin of a Biden victory, the harder it will be for Trump to convince the courts and state legislators to support him. The Supreme Court is my concern. If RGB were still alive, I would see Roberts siding against Trump and putting an end to this. If Trump gets the seat filled, then it gets really dicey. Let’s hope for a big victory margin for Biden, and that it doesn’t get as far as the Supreme Court.

  5. komarov says

    If it was just the president “considering” he might not yield to the election results, I’d expect the rest of the government to roll it’s collective eyes and firmly point out that any such ideas are nonsense. That and have a quiet word with the secret service at the White House involving the possibly former president, the door and the phrase “a minimum amount of fuss.”

    But it’s not just the president. It’s half your government very loudly discussing just how to best ignore, overturn or falsify the election results, so I’d say nothing is certain. Even in the best case scenario with a democrating win that actually takes effect you’ll still have that half of the government hanging around, blocking everything (as usual), whining about how they weren’t allowed to sabotage the election and making sure they won’t fail again.

    Trump has effectively said that he wins this election, period, in all but those exact words, and that there is no alternative. In a working democracy everything should screech to a halt, turn to him and let him no in no uncertain terms that this will not do, perhaps even suggesting he be retired early if he doesn’t want to play the democratic tune any longer. “Working” being the operative word.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Expect some sort of violence, à la Charleston, Charlottesville, Portland, Louisville, Kenosha, ad nauseam, on and probably before 11/3.

    Have no doubt that False Noise, Wm. Barr, and Trumpistas in general will exploit twisted versions of that for scapegoating purposes; and that one or more armed wingnuts will respond with further violence.

    Whether or not Trump’s “base” has reached the critical mass for a self-sustaining chain reaction will arguably make the difference regarding election-loss civil-war scenarios -- at least for 2020. Unless thoroughly chastened by public repudiation, tactical failure, and impartial law enforcement, the redcaps will surely try again next year.

    Please, world, prove me wrong again…

  7. John Morales says


    Unless thoroughly chastened by [1] public repudiation, [2] tactical failure, and [3] impartial law enforcement […]

    Based on the last few years, I think it’s quite evident that [1] and [3] are powerless.
    So, one out of three.

  8. garnetstar says

    There is certainly a good chance that Trump will pull this off, considering the particular circumstances. We all should be ready for such illegal tactics, and not be intimidated, but just vote, one way or another. If you can, vote in person (during early voting, say). If you’re not high-risk for COVID, consider being a poll-worker. The end result will work out on lots and lots of lower levels, local election officials and state legislatures and the like.

    But, in general, some PSAs for those who want to pull of a successful coup d’etat:
    1) Get the military *and* the intelligence services on your side. The military has thefirepower, but Intelligence knows all, can find out all, and, if they choose, they can tell all (as in, I’ll bet the CIA has long had evidence of Trump’s decades of financial crimes, and all the other dirt).
    Or, they can choose to withold crucial intel from you, and let you sink into the quicksand all unknowing. Trump has managed to alienate all of these entities.

    2) If you’re planning a coup, keep it to yourself. Don’t babble about it at every opportunity and tweet your intentions constantly: that’s like Tywin Lannister sending out a press release about his plans for the upcoming Red Wedding. You’ll notice that the Democrats are not breathing a word about whatever *their* plans may be for the election. There is a reason for that.

  9. garnetstar says

    LOL, I just saw that the NYT has “obtained” and published twenty years of Trump’s tax returns, which are just as damning as you’d think.

    Gosh, I wonder where the Times got that information (at least, where it originated), and why they got it just now?:) See my previous post.

    You must get the intelligence services behind you if you want a coup to be successful.

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