Victoria Pickering
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With the railroaded Supreme Court appointment of Amy Barrett, Team Trump has lit the final fuse on his 2020 coup d’etat. With Barrett, Roberts and Kavanaugh, Trump’s Trifecta, because they all did it before in Bush vs Gore. Read on.

Barrett, Roberts and Kavanaugh, Trump’s Trifecta, did it all before in Bush vs Gore. Read on.

As of right now, with the all-but-certain compliance of Supremes Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, and with the agreement of enough Republican-held state legislatures, there is no legal barrier to Trump’s second term, no matter what the voters say.

In real terms, the only practical wall against such a coup might be a massive anti-Trump national vote—-but it would have to be overwhelming enough to make his would-be dictatorship politically unsustainable.  

As for the Constitutional path, the road has been cleared.  The calculation is simple.

Under the original Constitution, the power to choose electors to the Electoral College that chooses the President rests with the state legislatures.  In fact, in diminishing numbers, they did that from the 1789 selection of George Washington to the popular election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 (who won the presidency in a four-way race with less than 40% of the vote).

By then the rise of grassroots democratic sentiment had redefined the young nation.  The choice of electors was transferred to popular state-by-state votes, to which the legislatures deferred.  But they never formally surrendered.  

A gumbo of customs and laws includes the 1887 Electoral Choice Act and the 12th, 14th, 20th and 25th Amendments.

Armies of lawyers, scholars, high-paid advisors and dirty tricksters (hired to create chaos) have struggled to find consensus.  Any number will give you a “definitive” answer.

 But, as in Bush v. Gore, confusion and contention are Trump’s ultimate allies.  He can win merely by denying clarity and thereby getting the final word to his Supreme Court.

 It goes like this:

 Biden is highly likely to win an overwhelming popular majority.  

In anticipation, Trump has been screaming since 2016 that this election will be a fraud.  His “trifecta” of stripped voter rolls, subverted early voting and vote by mail, and a flipped electronic vote count has been set to guarantee just that.

How deeply he can cut into the final tally of the massive public rejection coming at him remains to be seen.  No matter how it goes, he will be kicking and screaming that it is fraudulent.

From there, his bar is very low.  He only needs to throw enough swing states into chaos to deny Biden the needed 270 electoral votes.  He does that through state legislatures ready to step in and trash the public will.

That stage was set in 2010, when a team of Koch Brother Tricksters used limitless dark money to take gerrymandered state legislatures deep into the Republican swamp.  Majorities and super-majorities emerged in 29 states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Iowa, Kentucky and others.

With the least excuse, any or all could cite “fraud” and “irregularities” while trashing the popular vote and appointing Electoral College delegations for Trump.

There are many complications between that and the coronation.  You can Google endless legal tracts on most of them.  But for Trump, just getting it to the Supreme Court means game over.  

Until the ram-rodded appointment of Barrett, there seemed a glimmer that John Roberts might jump ship, deadlocking the Court at 4-4.  

But Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett all did legal work for Bush v. Gore in Florida 2000.  Clarence Thomas actually voted for it.  And extreme conservatives Samuel Alito and Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch are unlikely to flinch.

So where does that leave the popular will?

If a Biden landslide is big enough, Trump could run short of states to steal.  Claiming overridable chaos in tight races may be do-able in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin.

But as Barak Obama showed in 2008 and 2012, there are limits. Even in an absurd, obsolete, thoroughly corrupted electoral system like America 2020, there are numbers beyond which Trump (who went bankrupt four times) may be unable to tread.   

And thus the outcome of this election can be simply summarized:  If Trump loses by big enough margins in more states than he can get his vassal legislatures to steal short of 270, his clear path to dictatorship becomes impassible.

If such an election can be fairly tabulated while denying the Supreme Court the final word, he loses.  

But to do that, millions of citizens must be reinstated to the voter rolls; their ballots must be protected one-by-one at thousands of tables within the local election boards; the electronic scanning machines that will tally the votes must be saved from hacking.  

None of this is rocket science.  We have (hopefully) learned some hard lessons since Florida 2000.

But this coming week demands the absolute focus of everyone and anyone who cares about living in a democracy, or on a sustainable planet.  

History Professor and Author Harvey Wasserman co-convenes the Grassroots Emergency Election Protection Coalition (  His People’s Spiral of US History awaits Trump’s departure at  

Firt published at BuzzFlash: