What if they held a coup and nobody came?
President Trump has made clear that he believes the election was rigged — somehow — and has called for its reversal. He’s been joined by a chorus of supporters: not just ordinary Trump voters but some members of Congress, including Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) — who has said the results in Georgia and Pennsylvania were the result of “flawed election systems” and wants his colleagues to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) have suggested they might join that effort. Meanwhile, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has pitched the idea of imposing martial law, in several states, to rerun the election, first on Newsmax and then, according to reports, to Trump in the Oval Office. Overall, these efforts have been widely described as an “attempted coup.”
But what is most striking about this attempted coup, at least so far, is that almost nobody has actually done anything. Instead, nearly everyone involved in the coup has asked someone else to do something. Trump met with Michigan’s Republican state legislative leaders to suggest that they overturn the results there, and made similar appeals by phone to Republican state legislative leaders in Pennsylvania, and to the governor of Georgia. He’s phoned Tuberville, too, and has filed dozens of lawsuits in state and federal courts across the country. And he has whipped his followers into a frenzy, asking them to “stop the steal.” But these are all requests that someone else take action. Trump has not summoned the military, attempted to seize ballots or otherwise used the power of the presidency. (The idea of deploying the military was quickly dismissed when broached by Flynn at the White House, according to The Washington Post.)
Read more at The Washington Post