Coup de Trump

Illustration shows a sillouette of donald trump's face with an american flag print
Wes Bausmith illustration of Donald Trump. (Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Arguments have been made throughout academia toward the likelihood of a termination to Trump’s presidency. Recent weeks have now raised the dark suspicion that his administration will bring about a fascist regime unlike even the more imperial of presidencies (Trump’s idol, Andrew Jackson, for one).

Historian Timothy Snyder suggested to the left-leaning website Salon that it is “pretty much inevitable” for the enlightened American democracy, believed to exist, will slip into fascism. Snyder said:

“The straight-on confrontation with the truth is at the center of the fascist worldview. The attempt to undo the Enlightenment as a way to undo institutions, that is fascism.”

From here, Snyder suggests the American people have one year until we can see where the Trump administration may take this country. Ultimately, it depends on how Americans react to his actions as commander-in-chief. But although Snyder believes that the individual matters, world powers have dedicated themselves to hiding people and silencing opposition.

Look as far as Asia and South America, where the ability to disappear someone became a tool to fight in the Cold War. Outside of the Soviet Union and China, Chile was a hotbed for forced disappearances under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet after the success of his military junta in 1973.

The legitimacy of facts, up for grabs, will be discounted unless individuals become a united effort. I have argued with close allies and pedantic charlatans that a united front can tackle any autocrat.

Any hopes for an intelligent reclamation of the nation against a Trump coup harks to a memorable line from the novelist Gore Vidal from his 1975 essay “The State of the Union”:

“The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country, and we haven’t seen them since.”

Anti-Trump demonstrators need to hold tight to this irony; it is the weapon against what Snyder thinks will happen. From there, a presidency under Vice President Mike Pence will be about as popular as the administration of president Gerald Ford.

But the demagoguery of the Trump administration makes the theorized attempt at a coup not appear so ethereal. Even appearing to not behold himself to the laws of the Constitution, claiming it to be “archaic…really a bad thing for the country.”

Forget those in government who have betrayed reason and the ingenuity of the founders, such as former vice president Dick Cheney, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and president Woodrow Wilson to name a few, with all of the atrocities they committed in the name of the empire.

Surely, while the media is watching every infinitesimal move by Trump, it will be his administration’s political and military actions that must to be under a microscope. A coup will not be tolerated by higher figures outside of the executive and legislative branches, but nothing can keep any worried civilian assured. Silence of the media could very well be first under this coup, along with congressional defiance from the Democrats and even some Republicans.

“Who creates blind trusts that are not blind, invites his children to commingle private and public business, and somehow gets the unhappy members of his own political party either to endorse his choices or shrug them off?” wrote conservative write David Frum in the Atlantic. “If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled.”

Subtle prospect in the marches across the nation – calling for gender equality, a cry for reason, and the impeachment of the 45th president – show that there are observant Americans not setting fires near UC Berkeley and become trivial over free speech.