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In a Crisis, a Compromise Is Worse Than No Solution At All, Part II
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Late last month, I wrote that there was a strong chance — I called it 50-50 — that Donald Trump would engineer a “self-coup” in order to remain in power despite having lost the election.

The president, I explained, is a desperate cornered rat. Once he leaves office, he becomes vulnerable to a variety of criminal investigations. By far, the one he has to worry about the most is being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney into corrupt business practices, charges that could not be discharged by a presidential pardon if President-elect Joe Biden were to issue one. Trump “could spend the rest of his life in prison,” I wrote, “unless he declares martial law and becomes America’s first dictator.”

I acknowledged that Trump “doesn’t have the support of the military — but he doesn’t need it.” Instead of a Latin American-style military coup, I said, “his would be a ‘police coup’ carried out by the numerous local police departments whose unions endorsed him for reelection, alongside federalized state police and deputized paramilitary MAGA goons.”

It hasn’t happened yet, and maybe it won’t, but nothing has changed about Trump’s precarious legal situation. One of the lessons of history is that nothing trumps the strong human motivation for personal survival. An intelligent assessment of Trump’s thinking must begin with the question: Why wouldn’t he attempt a coup?

Patriotism? Love of country? Respect for constitutional norms? I won’t go as far as many of the president’s other critics, who call him a narcissist who doesn’t care about anything or anyone except himself. They don’t know that, and neither do I.

Here’s what I do know: Whatever love of country and the craftwork of the Founding Fathers is in Trump’s soul cannot possibly weigh as heavily in his mind as the prospect of dying in prison, the first president in history to have faced prosecution and conviction. And that’s after months or years of humiliating hearings and trials and appeals where he has to sit quietly and watch his lawyers try to save his skin as prosecutors try to “flip” members of his family, lest they, too, wind up behind bars.

A more powerful reason to hesitate is the possibility of failure. If Trump’s “police coup” goes belly up, he goes to prison, possibly for treason, for life. Sounds awful, but it’s no worse than the New York charges he’s so scared of.

The only reason I can imagine that Trump would leave office peacefully on Jan. 20 would be that he is psychologically broken. It’s theoretically possible. But the continuing rambunctiousness of his Twitter feed and recent public statements reveal zero evidence that he’s resigned to his fate.

Feel free to dismiss this as the paranoid rant of a left-wing political writer, albeit one who told you we would lose the Afghanistan war and predicted that Trump would win the 2016 election when everyone else was telling you something different. But you should probably consider this: The dean of Very Serious Journalist Persons, columnist David Ignatius of the Washington Post — a foreign affairs writer so mainstream and respectable that he supported invading Iraq and argued that the CIA should not be held accountable for torture and political assassinations — now agrees with me. In doing so, he draws upon some interesting deep-state sourcing.

“Not to be alarmist,” Ignatius wrote on Dec. 26, “but we should recognize that the United States will be in the danger zone until the formal certification of Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6, because potential domestic and foreign turmoil could give President Trump an excuse to cling to power.”

“Trump’s last-ditch campaign” — for Republican members of the House and Senate to challenge the Electoral College vote count certification on Jan. 6 — “will almost certainly fail in Congress,” Ignatius begins. I agree.

“The greater danger is on the streets, where pro-Trump forces are already threatening chaos. A pro-Trump group called ‘Women for America First’ has requested a permit for a Jan. 6 rally in Washington, and Trump is already beating the drum: ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!'” Ignatius worries. “Government officials fear that if violence spreads, Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize the military. Then Trump might use ‘military capabilities’ to rerun the Nov. 3 election in swing states, as suggested by Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.”

Ignatius continues: “The Pentagon would be the locus of any such action, and some unusual recent moves suggest pro-Trump officials might be mobilizing to secure levers of power.” If I were his editor, I would have reworded this, because it wrongly implies that Trump is planning a coup with Pentagon support . What Trump really needs, as I wrote a month ago, is Pentagon neutrality . He wants troops to stay in their barracks. As long as the armed forces stay out of the way of local and state police, a coup has a chance.

The description of Trump’s latest behind-the-scenes personnel reshuffles is worth quoting in its entirety: “Kash Patel, chief of staff to acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller, returned home ‘abruptly’ from an Asia trip in early December, according to Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin. Patel didn’t explain, but in mid-December Trump discussed with colleagues the possibility that Patel might replace Christopher A. Wray as FBI director, one official said. Wray remains in his job. Another strange Pentagon machination was the proposal Miller floated in mid-December to separate the code-breaking National Security Agency from U.S. Cyber Command, which are both currently headed by Gen. Paul Nakasone. That proposal collapsed because of bipartisan congressional opposition. But why did Trump loyalists suggest the NSA-Cyber Command split in the first place? Some officials speculate that the White House may have planned to install a new NSA chief, perhaps Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the young conservative recently installed to oversee Pentagon intelligence activities.”


Ominous as hell, though I think Ignatius’ conclusion misses the point: “With firm control of the NSA and the FBI, the Trump team might then disclose highly sensitive information about the origins of the 2016 Trump Russia investigation.” A more obvious motivation for hijacking direct control of the nation’s top foreign and domestic intelligence agencies is command and control. During a coup, the NSA and FBI would monitor and disrupt resistance inside government as well as in the streets.

“Trump won’t succeed in subverting the Constitution,” Ignatius assures us. Maybe.

It’s going to be an eternity between now and Jan. 20.

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  1. That’s hysterical. The US constitution began being subverted before the ink dried. This election set a new high water mark of corruption and fraud. Trump has no support from the swamp and hasn’t since he was elected. He never even had control of the executive branch. There has been an ongoing coup attempt against him since before he took office. The only support he has is the 80 million deplorables who voted for him and want their country back from the lunatics that now control it.

    • Agree: donut, VivaLaMigra
  2. A123 says:

    The Nazicrat opposition needs a Blue Coup to install an illegitimate Biden.

    Trump’s path to a Constitutional win is fairly straightforward. There will be objections to the Fraudulent Elections (and thus Fraudulent Electors) leading to congressional floor vote. The Georgia State Senate elections will be in recount until after Inauguration Day. Thus, the GOP holds a 50-48 margin in the U.S. Senate.

    Will two GOP Senators turn on their voter base to support Biden’s Blue Coup? It seems highly unlikely. While Trump has enemies, like Romney, it is hard to see them openly backing SJW authoritarian rule.

    When the Electoral College fails to gain approval, the matter goes to the U.S. House, where the GOP controls 28 delegations in a First to Reach 26 wins mechanism.

    The real question becomes, “How will the Nazicrats react to the failure of their Blue Coup?”

    My prediction is that Team SJWastika Blue will burn more Blue Cities. All Trump needs is enclosure of the threat, so it cannot reach Patriot Red areas. The author makes a good point that local police will be essential for containing anti-Constitutional Blue Coup violence.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Digital Samizdat
  3. Literally unhinged, untethered thinking that demonstrates what a lack of negative feedback produces in a closed system.

    I’m just curious, Mr. Rall. Are you able to fend for yourself in society at large as an independent citizen? Or are you institutionalized somewhere, either as a ward in an asylum or as an e.g. college professor?

    • Agree: VivaLaMigra
    • Replies: @Wyatt
  4. The president, I explained, is a desperate cornered rat.

    Memo to Ted: Trump sure isn’t acting like a cornered rat. You are projecting, Ted. The couple acting like the cornered rats that they are are Joe and Kammie.

    The corrupt attorneys in the SDNY need to be disbarred immediately. Stalinist trials have no place in the United States.

    Shame on you, Ted. Why would you write such totalitarian trash? What happened to you?

  5. I can promise you a great big anti-climax. Dire predictions always turn out less than dire.

  6. dvorak says:

    Government officials fear that if violence spreads, Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize the military.

    If violence spreads from the “Karens for America First” rally?

    • Replies: @Digital Samizdat
    , @dvorak
  7. nope. ellen will give him skittles, the world will be enthralled with his play-doh sculptures, and michelle obama and mr trump will co-host next year’s new year’s rockin’ eve.

  8. Please, Mr. Rall (or ayone else), show readers when and how you

    predicted that Trump would win the 2016 election when everyone else was telling you something different.

    I want to compare your prediction to

    In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

    A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.

    Linh Dinh, “Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President,” June 12, 2016, @ The Unz Review.

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  9. @A123

    One flaw in your reasoning: just because a Senator is a Republican, doesn’t mean he isn’t swamp. Will all Republican senators vote to decertify the EC count? Maybe, but it seems unlikely.

    • Replies: @A123
  10. @dvorak

    Well, the MAGApedes will almost certainly be peaceful, but we can well predict that they will be attacked by Antifa, and perhaps BLM as well. That’s when the fun starts!

  11. Ted Rall is a nasty long time leftist subversive. Speaking of cornered rats! He would be one of the first ones to be put in a forced labor camp if the American people ever regain control of our country. He knows it, too. Thus this hysterical screed.

  12. Personally, I am looking forward to the news bulletin that an unarmed ex-President Trump has died while police were attempting to arrest him for trespassing at the White House. Later, the officers will be exonerated when an autopsy reveals that the man, who has a long history of questionable business deals and association with known criminals, was, coincidentally, at the moment of his arrest overdosing on Addarol and steroids. Justice triumphs once again in the land of the free!

  13. BuelahMan says:

    Love of country?

    Its simply a love for doing the jews’ bidding.

  14. A123 says:
    @Digital Samizdat

    What Republican Senator wants to face an extremely hostile, well funded primary challenge?

    The #1 way for an incumbent to lose a general election is to be both broke and damaged from an aggressive primary. There is no way for a GOP Senator to vote for Biden without changing parties or retiring from politics.

    If you do not like the scenario, give names of who you think will be the ex-GOP Senate turncoats. It is not so easy to pick names that will volunteer to be forever reviled as traitors.

    PEACE 😇

  15. @Greta Handel

    And now, Mr. Rall has failed to substantiate what he claims about himself.

  16. Mr. Rall called it.
    He said police would help, and they helped.
    He said it would be goons, and there were goons.
    Goons+cops but no military.
    Congratulations, much respect.

  17. dvorak says:

    If violence spreads from the “Karens for America First” rally?

    My predictions don’t always age well; but I am undeterred from making predictions.

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