Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

A Trump Electoral Coup Would Be Very Hard to Pull Off

| Aug. 18, 2020

How bad could it get? Could President Trump steal the November election by suppressing votes, or simply by refusing to leave office? These dark questions are circulating among Democrats these days, even as they put up a buoyant front at their Zoom convention.

The modestly reassuring answer is that a Trump electoral coup would be very hard to pull off — even amid the turmoil and confusion of what may be the most divisive election in our modern history.

I’ve spent the past few weeks talking to veteran homeland security officials, state and local law enforcement, senior military officers and others who, in theory, will help provide an orderly election and inauguration.

The answer I heard repeatedly was that systems are in place for a stable transition. With all the absentee ballots, it will take longer to count the votes, and the outcome may be in doubt for days or even weeks. But if Trump loses, it will be very difficult for him to cling to office. There are just too many career lawyers, cops, generals and other public servants in the way.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Ignatius, David.“A Trump Electoral Coup Would Be Very Hard to Pull Off.” The Washington Post, August 18, 2020.