Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

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Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 04:15am

Its really surreal that we have to seriously ask this question, but when the President's ex-lawyer and fixer cites it to Congress under oath as his reason for testifying, it warrants taking seriously.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... 6b8e9621b3
Over the course of his testimony on Wednesday, Michael Cohen said many troubling things about President Trump. He said he was a racist. He said he was a cheat. He accused Trump of committing a number of felonies.

But as far as the future of the United States is concerned, he arguably saved the worst for last. In his closing statement - so late that many probably missed it - he said this: "Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today."

This is a prospect that has been floated before. In fact, as a political journalist, I can tell you it's probably the question I get asked the most. And here was a man who knows Trump very well suggesting it's a concern that is warranted.

It's 100 percent speculation, yes, but it's not completely baseless. Remember toward the end of the 2016 election when everyone, including, apparently, Trump, thought he was about to lose? Trump spent weeks alleging voter fraud among voters who hadn't even cast ballots. He even suggested if he lost, there could be no other explanation.

In light of this, critics pressed him to promise to accept the results of the election. He declined, even using it to provoke further.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make a major announcement today," he said Oct. 20, 2016, in Ohio. "I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election ..."

He paused for effect.

"... If I win."

It bears emphasizing that Trump said he was reserving the right to challenge the results through the legal system, and only if it wasn't "a clear election result." But this is the president who has waged an effort to undermine judges who decide things he doesn't like. And he's alleged a vast conspiracy among law enforcement to take him down. If the voters vote him out in part based upon that evidence - or if that process itself leads to impeachment and removal from office - is the guy who said this is a "witch hunt" just going to walk away and accept that verdict?

If it all seems unlikely, that's because it is Even if Trump were to try to cling to power, the odds of success seem very low. This has obviously never even been attempted, though as Jack Shafer writes, Franklin D. Roosevelt once entertained asserting dictatorial powers, and some in the military feared Richard Nixon was hinting at preventing his removal from office. "He was trying to find out whether in a crunch there was support to keep him in power," an anonymous four-star officer on Nixon's Joint Chiefs of Staff told journalist Seymour Hersh in 1983.

To prevent his own removal, that's essentially what Trump would have to do. Assuming he can't game the electoral college and exhausts legal challenges to the result of the election, staying in office would probably require force of some kind and the complicity of the military. And the idea that the military would go along with this even after another person is duly elected is difficult to believe.

But the potentially ominous part of this isn't about the (very low) odds of success; it's what would happen in the meantime. If Trump won't leave, and his base feels aggrieved, what if he stirs a popular uprising of some sort? Things could get messy, even as he would probably never hold power.

And some say it's an unlikely possibility worth preparing for, given Trump's conduct and the potential very real constitutional crisis that could result. Georgetown Law's Joshua A. Geltzer looked at the possibility, recommending a number of safeguards against is. Apart from making sure the electoral college is shored up and that politicians are prepared to desert Trump if he doesn't leave, he urged that the country's military leaders be asked in their regular sworn testimony whether they would commit to making sure the military would assist in the transition of power if necessary.

Cohen isn't a constitutional scholar, nor is he a political expert, so he can't know how unlikely this would be to succeed. It's also possible he was saying this for effect after a long day of testimony. But lots of people were eager to believe the things he was saying Wednesday for the very reason that he knows Trump better than all but a handful of people. His view of Trump's character on this point would seem difficult to totally discount.

It's easy to dismiss Trump's attacks on elections and the investigations of his presidency as Trump merely being provocative and trying to play a political game. Cohen seems to think there is more at work here.
Frankly, even the fact that this possibility is being seriously discussed increases tensions, making clashes or doubt over the legitimacy of the election more likely. And yet we have to consider it, because the possibility, and its implications, are too serious to ignore.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Ralin » 2019-03-02 04:54am

Trump isn't capable of making a peaceful trip to Canada.

That said, there's a world of difference between Trump ending up unceremoniously ejected from the White House and actually succeeding in forcibly retaining power or at least making a decent attempt at doing so. Trump isn't known for doing things competently. The obvious answer is that his failure to get the military, the intelligence communities and the FBI on his side should make any attempt to stay in power after impeachment or losing an election impossible. But…I dunno. There’s been a lot of that going around in the past few years when it comes to Trump. I don’t know the numbers for his support in the armed services off the top of my head or breakdown of how many of the rank and file (as opposed to generals and other high-ranking officers), but he’s always had scary levels of support from our heavily-armed state and local police forces. And while he hasn’t managed to form his own corp Brownshirts-style organized leg breakers, there’s always the chance that Trump will suddenly make good on his ‘I hire the best people’ line by letting someone bright fascist do it for him.

Either way, I’m glad I’m living in a free country.

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 05:01am

While he has thoroughly alienated the intelligence community, and a lot of the top military brass is against him, a lot of the rank and file are Trump supporters, as are a lot of the border patrol and local law enforcement. If, hypothetically, Trump accused the Democrats of attempting a coup and called on the military and law enforcement to back him, there would definitely be some inclined to side with him, possibly even up to the point of whole military units and local police departments backing him.

Another big question is what the Secret Service would do, if the order was given to remove Trump from the White House, and Trump ordered the Secret Service to resist.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Ralin » 2019-03-02 05:21am

I would be utterly shocked if it turned out that the Secret Service as a collective entity did not hate Trump with a passion that dwarfs any of us.

That said, protecting the president is part of their job. Deciding who is right during a coup...less so.

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 05:28am

Ralin wrote:
2019-03-02 05:21am
I would be utterly shocked if it turned out that the Secret Service as a collective entity did not hate Trump with a passion that dwarfs any of us.
There are times that I am genuinely surprised that after two years of this shit, none of the people who are forced to work with him on a daily basis, like the White House staff, have just said "fuck it" and poisoned his McDonalds.
That said, protecting the president is part of their job. Deciding who is right during a coup...less so.
Indeed. I really wouldn't want to be in their shoes if it comes to that.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 05:43am

All of this brings me to another question, which is: which prospective Democratic nominee would be best able to lead America through such a crisis, and potentially through a civil war to depose the Trump regime. Who would be best able to unite as much of the country behind them, and who has the national security and foreign policy experience to best handle a crisis of that magnitude? Because that is now a question we genuinely need to be asking going into the primaries.

My initial answer would be Joe Biden. He has probably the broadest support nation-wide right now, and his time in the Obama administration and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gives him top-level foreign policy and national security experience. Although If he doesn't run, then I do think there is some merit to Bernie, too, in his ability to inspire public enthusiasm and to appeal to people who otherwise would not be supportive of a Democrat. However, while I don't wish to discriminate by age, leading the country through something like that strikes me as a task perhaps better suited to a younger man.

None of the others particularly impress me as potential leaders in such a crisis, from what I know of them (Gabbard is a military veteran, but frankly her loyalties are questionable when it comes to resisting Trumpism).
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-03-02 05:51am

We'll find out in 2024.
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 05:52am

Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-03-02 05:51am
We'll find out in 2024.
Writing off 2020 a bit early, aren't we?
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-03-02 06:54am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-02 05:52am
Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-03-02 05:51am
We'll find out in 2024.
Writing off 2020 a bit early, aren't we?
Perhaps I shall be pleasantly surprised but incumbents generally have the advantage and I've not seen much evidence of Trump's base abandoning him so I'd judge his reelection probably.
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 07:16am

Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-03-02 06:54am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-02 05:52am
Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-03-02 05:51am
We'll find out in 2024.
Writing off 2020 a bit early, aren't we?
Perhaps I shall be pleasantly surprised but incumbents generally have the advantage and I've not seen much evidence of Trump's base abandoning him so I'd judge his reelection probably.
On the flip side, no President in modern history has won reelection when their approval rating was below 50%, IIRC, so he's got to gain back quite a bit of ground by election day, if that pattern holds. The fact that he's facing a primary challenge (however unlikely to succeed) from within his own party will also weaken him.

I don't think we should be making any assumptions about the outcome yet. Partly because we're a year and a half out, and if 2016 ought to have taught us anything, its that elections aren't over until they're over. And partly because we left familiar territory far behind when Russia interfered (and probably colluded with Trump) to pick the President. And most of all because making assumptions about the outcome of an election is how you lose them.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-03-02 07:55am

Me making assumptions about the election isn't going to change anything TRR. I'm British: if I impact the results that's foreign interference and is generally frowned up. ;)
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-02 07:59am

Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-03-02 07:55am
Me making assumptions about the election isn't going to change anything TRR. I'm British: if I impact the results that's foreign interference and is generally frowned up. ;)
Yeah, I know you're British, but I hear way too much of this stuff from Americans too, and that's what worries me most. I feel like there's a tendency on the Left in general to just cynically accept defeat before the fight's even begun.

For all the ugliness of the Right, for all the shear inhuman, mind-twistingly evil shit they've come up with, I'll give them this much- they fight for what they believe in. They don't just accept the status quo, and they don't just accept that they're the minority and can't win. We don't have to (and shouldn't try to) match their ugliness or extremism- but if we can't match their resolve, we don't have a prayer.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Aether » 2019-03-03 10:48pm

I'll await the Mueller report, as I think many people are.

There will always be a 'base' that Donald Trump has, and most of them are fucking imbeciles. I'll believe that the Mueller Report will put a nail in Trump's re-election as I would tend to believe there are enough people who voted for him in 2016 who are not bat-shit insane.

And even if Trump thinks that he can stir the pot after he loses, let him. White trash twats with AR-15s aint gonna do shit - let them live out their fantasy of role playing 1985's Red Dawn. I really hope they do. :wanker:

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-03 10:54pm

Aether wrote:
2019-03-03 10:48pm
I'll await the Mueller report, as I think many people are.

There will always be a 'base' that Donald Trump has, and most of them are fucking imbeciles. I'll believe that the Mueller Report will put a nail in Trump's re-election as I would tend to believe there are enough people who voted for him in 2016 who are not bat-shit insane.

And even if Trump thinks that he can stir the pot after he loses, let him. White trash twats with AR-15s aint gonna do shit - let them live out their fantasy of role playing 1985's Red Dawn. I really hope they do. :wanker:
I don't, because even if they lost, a lot of people would die in the process.

How many Trump voters were there? About fifty million? How many are still with him? Maybe forty million, at least? Let's say that just one in ten thousand of those decides to take up arms. That's four thousand potential insurgents. And thanks to those AR-15s, every single one of them can potentially kill dozens or even hundreds of innocent civilians.

And that is presuming that no military or law enforcement units support Trump, and that Trump doesn't find a blind loyalist office to give the order to launch nukes and take everybody with him when he realizes he's fucked.

Besides, even the fact that it came to a fight, however short and one-sided, would do incalculable harm to America's reputation and public faith in democracy and the rule of law- and therefore benefit Putin and other dictators, who want to portray democracy as weak and corrupt.

Edit: I guarantee you, there is probably no sight on Earth that would give Vladimir Putin more joy than that of Americans trading bullets over the outcome of the next election.
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2019-03-04 06:28am

The Romulan Republic wrote:And that is presuming that no military or law enforcement units support Trump,
It also assumes that Trump doesn't supplant the military and law enforcement with mercenaries, hired corporate muscle, and right-wing militias.
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Gandalf » 2019-03-04 06:42am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2019-03-04 06:28am
The Romulan Republic wrote:And that is presuming that no military or law enforcement units support Trump,
It also assumes that Trump doesn't supplant the military and law enforcement with mercenaries, hired corporate muscle, and right-wing militias.
... how or why would he do that?
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Ralin » 2019-03-04 06:43am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2019-03-04 06:28am
It also assumes that Trump doesn't supplant the military and law enforcement with mercenaries, hired corporate muscle, and right-wing militias.
I think that if Trump had the will and ability to do that he would have made a lot more progress towards that goal by now. He's had the potential to form his own Brownshirts/paramilitary/loyal militias for awhile now and he hasn't. He can inspire right-wingers to commit crimes and terror attacks but there's no evidence that he can literally pick up a phone and tell a given Proud Boy or whatever to go blow up a specific crowd or shoot a specific speaker, then surrender and gloat about it at his trial.


I don't want to assume that there's no chance that some bright alt-right rising star will get Trump's favor long enough to make that happen for him, but at this point that's speculation.

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-04 06:44am

Supplanting the regular military and law enforcement with mercenaries and brown shirts would take more time than I think he has at this point to do on the necessary scale. He's taken some early steps in that direction-whipping up his mobs, condoning Right-wing terrorism, and conducting a partial purge of the Justice Department and FBI (Comey, McCabe, Sessions, etc.), but I don't think he's done it on a large enough scale to make a difference in this situation, nor do I think that he can do it in the time he has left unless he avoids impeachment and wins another term.

Thank God for incompetent fascists. We shouldn't take too much comfort in it though- Hitler was pretty incompetent too, and it still took several years of global war and tens of millions of dead to put an end to him.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-04 07:26am

There is a real question, of course, as to whether the very fact that the possibility of civil war is being seriously discussed raises tensions and increases the risk of violence. Its a thought that often disturbs me- I would hate to think that my words have contributed to the threat of political violence. But at the same time, how can we not take the possibility seriously, when prominent figures in the media and politics increasingly are?

At this point I think the crucial thing to do is to keep a level head- not to lash out or incite or do anything on the Left that would give Trump a justification for the use of force against his political opponents. That's not pacifism- its pragmatism. Best case scenario, it might lower the temperature a bit and help the country step back from the brink. Worst case- Trump will get a lot more support from the armed forces for "Puting down an uprising by Left-wing terrorists" than for "Seizing power to overturn a legitimate election or impeachment." So its essential that we not be the aggressors, because who the military views as being in the right is who would win.

But at the same time, I think that we need to be prepared for the possibility that Trump will cross that line and attempt to hold power by force. And I hope that the military and intelligence leadership are preparing for that possibility as well, along with state governments.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-03-04 08:03am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-03-03 10:54pm

And that is presuming that no military or law enforcement units support Trump, and that Trump doesn't find a blind loyalist office to give the order to launch nukes and take everybody with him when he realizes he's fucked.
I supposed this is the scariest bit. Not Nukes specifically but that 'lame duck' period (I may have the term wrong) when our hypothetical trump has lost the election but is still technically in power for another two months.
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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Jub » 2019-03-04 08:05am

I think things are, once again, being overstated here.

Look at the quote, "Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today."

That doesn't have to mean some violent bid for power. You can go non-peacefully by launching a lengthy legal battle or making a lot of noise with the press about election fraud. These aren't great outcomes and would doubtless drive a further wedge between the two parties but they wouldn't exactly be inciting a civil war either.

Trump is a petty bully, class clown, and attention whore all wrapped up in one and his lack of morals and lack of competence make him a poor president but he's being given way to much credit for riding a wave he did little to create.

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Ralin » 2019-03-07 09:34am

Yeah, fighting a stubborn series of legal battles is a lot more likely. Problem is that creates a lot of opportunities for Trump to win those legal battles if he forces multiple states to do recounts and investigations or whatever, especially if individual Trump supporters and cops start putting their thumbs on the scales. It'll be obvious and scummy, but so has pretty much every bad thing Trump and the Republicans have done and that never seems to matter to their supporters.

People say that Trump doesn't inspire loyalty and he doesn't, but once the (bullshit, but it doesn't matter to them) question is out there I wouldn't put it past Republicans in Congress to wring their hands and try to pass a bill suspending the transfer of power until they've gotten all these IRREGULARITIES straightened out and just kick the can down the road a little longer.

Long to the point of probably being straight up fantasy odds I know, but they'd at least try. Do they have the authority to do that? They would if they did it and it worked.

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by Ralin » 2019-03-07 09:49am

Also if nothing else I'd expect Trump and company to destroy a ton of records on the way out and utterly refuse to cooperate with the new president's transition team.

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Re: Will Trump allow a peaceful transition of power?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-03-07 07:56pm

Ralin wrote:
2019-03-07 09:49am
Also if nothing else I'd expect Trump and company to destroy a ton of records on the way out and utterly refuse to cooperate with the new president's transition team.
That's practically a given.

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