Chauncey Devega in Salon:
In the most basic sense, a coup is an illegal takeover of government power by an individual or faction. A coup can be attempted by members of the existing government and political system or those outside of it. A coup can also involve both groups working together towards the same goal of overthrowing the government. The connotative meaning, symbolism, and emotional valence of the word “coup” is something much broader: for Americans a “coup” is something that happens in other countries — “over there,” not in the world’s “greatest democracy.” More generally, a “coup” summons up ideas and feelings of social disorder and chaos, a broken democracy or other form of government, and a country to be looked down upon as some type of failed state in the so-called Third World. On January 6, then-President Donald Trump, his Republican co-conspirators in Congress, allies in other parts of the United States government, and followers attempted a coup to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and Joe Biden’s victory.
The last few days have seen more revelations about the Trump regime’s lawlessness and just how perilously close Trump and his allies came to succeeding in their attempt to nullify the results of the 2020 presidential election. The American people and the world now know that Donald Trump’s agents were pressuring the Department of Justice to intervene by “proving” that Biden won the election because of widespread “voter fraud.” Documents obtained by the House Oversight and Reform Committee include a draft memo that was to be submitted by the Department of Justice to the Supreme Court which argued that the 2020 Election results should be nullified.
Moreover, other questions still remain about the events of January 6, such as how the Trump regime was able to so easily demobilize the United States military and why dozens of repeated warnings about a violent attack by Trump’s followers on the Capitol were ignored. Instead of speaking plainly and directly about the Trump regime’s coup, many in the mainstream news media, and among America’s political class more generally, have avoided using such language. When the coup was imminent, they dismissed it as something “impossible” and “ridiculous” and “fearmongering” by people afflicted with “Trump derangement syndrome.” When the coup and attack on the Capitol finally occurred, many of those same voices called it an “insurrection” or a “mob action” by Trump supporters who “didn’t really have a plan.” This too is incorrect: Trump’s attack force included highly motivated and trained elements who acted in a precise fashion with the goal of capturing Mike Pence, whom they threatened to kill, along with other Republicans deemed to be “traitors” and Democrats. Trump’s attack force was also attempting to start a civil war, and at the very least to disrupt the certification of Biden’s victory with the goal of creating the conditions for Trump to declare a national state of emergency.