Coup? Constitutional Crisis?

Multiple Rumors and books have come out since President Donald Trump was sworn in. We knew already from all these random reports that things were crazy in the White House. Real world backstabbing and palace politics are making House of Cards look mild in comparison. In fact, this is making that fictional universe look like a friendly place. So here is the question we must seriously consider. Have we had a coup?

Coups abroad have a very specific path, with the usual image of the army in the streets. The army is never a friendly outfit. Resistance to the new order is destroyed in short order. Democracy goes away in the course of an afternoon. A colonel usually comes on the national television and radio and speaks of how much they love the nation. And to whit how much they are protecting the nation from dark forces that otherwise seek to destroy the nation.

Read the New York Times opinion piece, written by a member of the Administration. Ignore the fact that we do not have army troops manning checkpoints. This may very well be a different type of coup However, this part of the essay sounds awful familiar to any student of any military coup.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

The idea that these people did not take the route of the 25th Amendment to protect the country from a constitutional crisis is stunning. They chose to go around the president, to stop him in some cases, for the good of the nation…this is the definition of a coup.

Then we have a series of books, including Bob Woodward’s upcoming work. Many of these books reflect these themes we now see from one of many deep throats.

And then there is the reaction from the president. He is on a hunt to find whoever is this member of this resistance. He is demanding this person be turned over to the state as a national security matter.

Does it matter?

Yes.

We have been in the midst of a slow-moving Constitutional crisis for over a year. It started when the president fired James Comey.

This is a moment the crisis started to be obvious. However, the commentariat has refused to call it. Why? This is a good question. It might be a refusal to admit how dangerous things have become. The crisis continues to deepen. Functionally we may have had a coup. This is what both on the right and left feared for decades, but cannot recognize it.

It is not the one we are most familiar with. Never mind that we had a man, or woman, come out to the Times and sound like any tinpot colonel in any banana republic.

One lesson from those coups is that the colonels do not give up power that easily. Democracy does not come back easily. And once a coup has occurred it is harder to prevent them in the future.

It is time, to be honest about where we are. We are in the middle of the deepest crisis in the history of the Republic. It gets worst. The other day I made allusions to Rome and the parallels. This may very well be our Rubicon.

Written by

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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