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This Was the Coup

There will not be a peaceful transition of power between the 45th and 46thAmerican presidents. The country’s leaders and its leading institutions—the traditional ones, not the Trump ones—spent four years promising that transition, despite everything Donald Trump might say to the contrary. It was the safe, secure alternative to other, more confrontational courses of action, the fallback plan when congressional subpoenas, judicial oversight, and even impeachment turned out to be toothless: Let the voters decide, trust the Constitution, and this will pass.

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And then the doors broke down and the glass shattered and the power that their president kept invoking was loose in the halls of Congress. The Constitution was on the run, and the armed forces had a decision to make. The answer to a coup was a countercoup. Inauguration Day may still come on time, and the voters may see Joe Biden sworn in as president. But it won’t be because the system survived.


This Was the Coup

Tom Scocca . Slate

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