Worried About a Trump Coup? Take a Deep Breath: You Have More Power Than You Think


President Distraction does not want us talking about his epic pandemic failure with the number of 200,000+ dead likely to rise dramatically by year’s end, our people suffering economically, with many depending on food banks, his woeful lack of accomplishments, and the fact that next week he will face “Sleepy Joe” in debate. 

Meanwhile, Biden has shown himself to be so totally with it and knowledgeable about a vast range of topics that Trump has changed his accusation to Biden’s purported use of “performance enhancing drugs.”

Though Biden clearly doesn’t have a lock on the Presidency, it’s looking more like his lead is stable both nationwide and in a number of swing states, including some red ones. 

So Trump continues to push his fraudulent charge that mail-in ballots are fraudulent, though he and family have used them for years—as have red states—with almost no evidence of fraud (not counting Trump’s encouraging his North Carolina supporters to vote twice—just to make sure!)

And don’t be fooled by this new alleged plot involving 7 Pennsylvania ballots: he and Barr manufactured a story from an incident that the Pennsylvania officials fully explained—no fraud there either. 

Then an article in The Atlantic by Barton Gellman threw lots of people into a frenzy, and it fed well into Trump’s refusal to agree to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election.

I’m hoping to bring a measure of calm to all this frenzy.

For starters, here’s the opening of a newsletter from the sensible lawyer friend whom I’ve quoted from time to time:

“The liberal media lost its mind on Wednesday. The hysteria traces to an article in The Atlantic with the thesis that Republican-controlled legislatures will ignore the popular vote results in their states and appoint Electors who will support the popular vote loser in the Electoral College. (‘Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly.’) 

“Sure, that could happen. That is effectively a coup d’état. So, if you want to assume that six Republican states will ignore state laws requiring that their Electors be awarded to the winner of the popular vote, go ahead. I have no response to arguments that breezily assume the end of 244 years of democracy just because Trump ‘asks state legislatures to set aside the popular vote.’”

My friend is justifiably harsh on Gellman for depicting nightmare scenarios of armed disrupters at the polls and then saying, “Of course, this is all speculation.” 

While he acknowledges the likelihood that Trump will cheat and even the possibility that the election could be decided by the Supreme Court, he finds the idea of a coup hyperbolic nonsense.

His skepticism meshed well with a thread of tweets on Twitter (where else?) from a woman named Teri Kanefield (@Teri_Kanefield). Kanefield identifies herself as an author and lawyer (appellate defense lawyer) who does election law pro bono. I felt her responses were so reasonable and on point that I’m repeating them here. 

As the thread was long and sometimes repetitious, I’ve taken the liberty of editing, while I hope remaining true to her intent.

Kanefield essentially focuses on three issues:

Why Trump Wants This Story in the Headlines

Why The Scenario Is Highly Unlikely to Occur

Where the Dangers Lie and How We Can Address Them

Early on, she quotes the essential passage from The Atlantic article:

“The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power,’ a Trump campaign legal adviser explained to The Atlantic. ‘We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state.’

—Why Trump Wants This Story in the Headlines

“I’m pretty sure everyone knows Trump would cheat, lie, steal, and even let 200K people die if he thought it would help him win.

“There are several ways to respond to this story, but we have to begin by wondering why the ‘legal advisor’ wants us to have this information.

“First, remember that each state has rules that govern the certifying of their elections. 

“Yes, laws still matter. 

“The Trump legal advisor wants you to think they don’t. 

“Why? Because when enough people lose confidence in democracy, democracy will fail. (emphases mine)

“Trump is trying his best to get you to lose confidence in [our] democratic processes.

“He is trying to make you think he can pull this off.

“New polls came out today showing that Trump is ten points behind nationally.

[Quinnipiac national likely voter poll: Biden 52%; Trump 42%]

“The Strongman needs you to think he’s strong. He doesn’t want you talking about the polls.

“If he was winning, he’d want you talking about the polls…

“He’s a genius at manipulating the media and controlling the conversation…

–Why the Scenario Is Highly Unlikely to Occur

“Beginning with the fact that state legislatures have nothing to do with certifying elections, this isn’t plausible.

“We’re looking at an election in which Trump loses the popular vote by upwards of 7 percentage points. 

“…and multiple states give Biden the electoral college win.

“Also, from Harvard-educated lawyer @NastyOldWomyn: “In PA, the GOP controlled legislature can’t appoint its own electors without amending the PA electoral code, which Dem Gov Wolf would veto, & the GOP lacks sufficient votes to overcome his veto. Same in MI & WI.”

“The election would have to come down to a few states in which the elected officials were willing to go against the will of their voters and against their own laws.

“They’d have to break the laws (and defy their voters) for Trump.

“The courts would have to allow it.

“Another thing to remember: These states with GOP-held legislatures that the Trump advisor wants you to think will do whatever Trump wants are getting hit very hard right now from Covid.

“The Supreme Court along with multiple state legislatures would have to be willing to basically install a dictator. 

“Let’s not pretend that we are at the mercy of Trump, or that we give two hoots about whether he will ‘respect’ the results of the election.”

Where the Dangers Lie and How to Address Them

“When enough people believe the con, this amplifies and gives credence to the lies, which then creates a reality based on the lie, which helps bring about the very outcome you don’t want…

“This is not to say that very real things can’t go wrong. Polls showing a close race in Florida worry me. The fact that more than 45% of voters willingly choose Trump, despite everything we know worries me.

“The fact that so many people don’t vote worries me.

“Here’s the thing about democracy: If a majority of voters no longer want it, it will cease to exist. If a majority of voters don’t put in the work, it will cease to exist. 

“In a close election, like 2000, where the election comes down to a few thousand votes, something like this might work.”

Here Kanefield responds to her anticipated critics:

“Dear those of you who are explaining why I’m wrong and that Trump can easily steal this election (and I’m naive to doubt it) let me ask you this: Suppose you succeed in persuading lots of people of this?

“What will you accomplish?

“Of course: Trump knows he can’t win by persuading people to vote for him, so he will try to create chaos.

“What you can do: Volunteer to work on the election. 

“What Biden will do: Put together a top-notch legal team.”


So while I would vastly prefer that we not have all these uncertainties hanging over the election, I am comfortable with Kanefield’s thinking and this conclusion offered by my lawyer friend:

“But if six GOP controlled states decide that the popular vote winner will not be awarded their Electoral College votes, then those states have effectively seceded from the constitutional order. 

“We can worry about that speculative and unlikely outcome if it ever comes to pass. In the meantime, we cannot be seduced by the wave of hysteria that has enveloped the liberal media. Just because Trump says something doesn’t mean it will occur. Remember, according to Trump, the coronavirus will ‘miraculously disappear.’

“So, here’s my advice: Buck-up! We can’t go to pieces every time someone comes up with a new disaster scenario over which you have no control. You can control what you do. Make that count.”

Here’s what you can do to make what you can control count:

Make sure you’re registered—asap. Most deadlines are in early October. Donate to the campaigns if you can. Make phone calls to get out the vote. If you’re willing and able, volunteer to work at the polls. 

Check your state’s voting options and make a plan concerning how you’ll vote. Vote as early as you can. If you’re voting by mail, carefully follow the directions so your vote can’t be challenged. Don’t forget to sign your ballot! Use a drop box if one is available.

An interesting note: If Texas, which has little mail-in balloting, goes for Biden (and it is possible), Trump will have no way to win. The election will be called that evening.

If you’d like to work on a campaign but don’t know how, contact me via Contact on this blog and I’ll send you suggestions.

Knowledge is power! Action overcomes anxiety. Democracy is on the ballot. Get involved! VOTE!!

We need not only Biden for President, but a Democratic House and Senate to enact all the bills Mitch McConnell has been blocking and to counterbalance the Supreme Court, which is about to move even further to the right of mainstream America.

Now if we could only convince the media to stop obsessing about Trump and give some attention to what Biden and Harris are saying…



18 thoughts on “Worried About a Trump Coup? Take a Deep Breath: You Have More Power Than You Think

  1. That’s the truth…even the left wing or neutral media constantly report trump and his latest outrage. They rarely report Biden and his plans or rather than trump”s latest tweet, they should be reporting some policy he’s put into place or removed such as with environmental, clean air and water standards. Or the fact that there is simply no plan for healthcare.
    And they show so much of the rioting never explaining that much is done by right wing groups.
    I’m frustrated with all media…maybe the best is PBS…don’t know.
    I’m so concerned about this election and how I dread that he could win again or delay the results for months…hope this article is correct.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. THANK YOU for posting this. I’m getting exasperated with this endless litany of far-fetched nightmare scenarios by which Trump supposedly could steal the election. All of them would require huge numbers of people to cooperate with him in doing so, in ways that would get them in serious trouble if the coup failed — and it would still most likely fail.

    One can always imagine scary monsters that might be hiding under the bed. All these stories might accomplish is to depress voter turnout because people think it will make no difference — which is exactly what the Republicans want. In fact, the Republicans fear our votes. Look at the insane lengths they’re going to, to discourage us from voting.

    Electoral-Vote blog, which has long been an excellent source of commentary on elections, has debunked a whole succession of the Trump-could-steal-the-election scenarios. Here’s what they had to say about the Atlantic article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome, Infidel. I hope people realize that all these stories stem from Trump’s fears; we should be energized by them instead of being immobilized by them. He’s a guy who faces a heap of trouble when he’s no longer President, so he’s desperate.

      Thank you for the link; it’s quite instructive.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s the margin that worries me Annie. It’s good, but not great. I don’t understand how 42% can still be supporting Trump after all that has happened??? I thought it was down to 30% at one time. If Biden doesn’t do well in the debate then the margin will narrow. I don’t think I can stand to watch the debate as I remember seeing one with Hilary Clinton and how rude and crude Trump was. I’ll just have to get the highlights later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know; it’s hard to understand. But I’m optimistic that our national nightmare will end soon. As for the debate, I’ve read several articles stating they make little difference. And with these new tax revelations (which were no surprise), I expect trump to be even more unhinged.

      I appreciate your level of concern, my friend across the border!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Between The Atlantic story, “The Election That Could Break America” and your posting and the new tax disclosures, I am once again either buoyed or feeling pulled into the abyss to being above water for the moment.

    Thank you for your exceptional contributions on the topics of the day and of course this latest article. Historically, presidential elections are won by small popular vote percentages of 2-5 % differences. Of the 200Mil potential voters, only 52-60% ever cast ballots and of the deciding votes of those approximately 120-129Mil votes cast, a mere 4-9Mil votes separate the victor from the loser. That is until you get to the electoral counts and then the spread can be enormous. Like better than 10-1. Of late, the counts are closer and the Republicans have lost 4 of the last 5 popular votes but, walked away with 3 victories. Turn out matters.. However, turn out does not always decide. Then we throw in Covid 19 fears by people and not showing up, those that do ‘mail in’ not completing the ballot correctly or late and then the historical voter suppression created by those that speak of democracy, but do not want others to practice the same.

    I have stated for years, we do not know what is going to turn the election. Today, more than at other times, we have more reasons not to know. Trumps supporters are loyal. Biden supporters are as usual in the Democratic Party, various groups of equal interests and needs that will come together as one on Election Day. If there is a chance for Biden it is in latest stories of a man that has lived a personal Posi Scheme. He has suckered in investors, banks, even leaders of other countries and 60,000,000 American voters. He has kited his way from one financial disaster to another and into the presidency. You can’t write this. It had to have happened to be believable.

    I am watching and of course hoping, the series of falsehoods by him, the history of a psychologically unbalanced liar and the overwhelming turnout in those states that need to come their senses, this part of history will be concluded on election night.

    Thanks again for this early morning journey of thought provoking and well researched journalism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Charles, for adding context to this difficult situation. I share your hope that the current revelations about President Ponzi will be the final blow, but I still think our best hope is massive turnout. We must work as hard as we can to ensure that happens.


  5. Well the electoral college does favor the right wing. Gore won the popular vote and lost the presidency in 2000 because of the electoral college; the same thing happened to Hillary Clinton 2016. What a different world it would be if it were not so. I had a false sense of security both times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a problem, for sure. But there are many positive signs ( eg: larger spread between Biden-trump than there was between Hillary and trump four years ago, more competitive races in battleground states AND ones that went for trump in 2016). Plenty of worries, but I’m hopeful.


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