As predicted by many observers, especially towards the end of his time in office, Trump and his team developed plans to ensure he stayed in office regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election, which he ultimately lost to Joe Biden.
The most visible result of these plans so far has been the January 6 insurrection. This attempt to take over the US Capitol building by force, disrupt the legitimate electoral process and have Trump declared the winner of the election even though he clearly lost, and possibly kill or injure members of Congress who opposed Trump remaining in power (Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence were specifically targeted). Although this attempt failed, it would appear to have been no more than a practice run and part of the general plan to encourage distrust of the electoral process amongst Trump's support base.
More dangerously, the Trumpists are now working hard to put obedient supporters into key positions within the electoral system where they can dishonestly claim Trumpist candidates won even when they did not. Using false claims of rampant voter fraud and that the 2020 election was stolen as justification, they have also pushed for draconian changes to state election laws giving them more and direct control over the process. A great deal now hangs on how far they can get with this by the time of the 2022 midterm elections.
The Trumpist plans are also completely in sync with the longstanding Republican strategy of disempowering voters unlikely to support them, through various vote suppression methods including restricting poll access, voter intimidation, voter ID requirements, and gerrymandering.
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- 2020.12.14 Republicans file fake elector documents in several states in an attempt to incorrectly have those states vote for Trump instead of Biden; this plan appears to originate with Mark Meadows.
- (2022.01.19) Rachel Maddow: Fake Trump Elector Scheme Draws The Attention Of More State Attorneys General
- (2022.01.18) Rachel Maddow: Mike Pence Script Change Seems To Address Fake Trump Elector Scheme (video, 6:41)
- (2022.01.11) Rachel Maddow: Republicans In At Least Three States Filed Forged Elector Letters
- 2020.12.16 Trump drafts, but never signs, an executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines
- (2022.01.23) DKos: Analyst says draft executive order Trump considered could have led to 'coup d'état' «Terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance told MSNBC if Trump had issued the executive order, it would've been "immediately dismissed" by every officer in the armed forces because it is an "unlawful order." The bigger problem, he said, is what would've happened if National Guard units from states in favor of Trump were ordered by their governors to do what the armed forces couldn’t. "This is literally the definition of a Latin American or Sub-Saharan African style coup d'état," Nance said.»
- (2022.01.22) Politico: Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines, along with a draft of a next-day speech that he never gave. «In the year since the riot, Trump’s recent characterization of the attack has veered wildly from that sentiment in the draft remarks. The former president has described the 2020 election as “the insurrection” and Jan. 6, 2021, as “the Protest.”»
- 2021.01.02 Trump phones Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to illegally "find votes" sufficient to declare Biden the loser (which he wasn't). Raffensperger declines to act on this request.
- 2021.01.05 Trump self-coup strategy document circulated by Mark Meadows
- 2021.01.06 January 6 insurrection
- 2021.03.25- US/GA/2021 county election board purge
- 2021.12.20 Steve Bannon pledges a takeover, citing imaginary 2020 election fraud as justification: «“And hey, all they want to talk about all day long is Omicron and 6 January. And we love it. Cuz nobody cares. We care because we care about the legitimacy of our process. We are a constitutional republic. And guess what, we are going to take over the election apparatus.”»
- 2022-01-23 Salon: Former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn admits to fake elector scheme on national TV «Epshteyn went on to claim that "everything that was done was done legally, by the Trump legal team, according to the rules, and under the leadership of (Trump lawyer) Rudy Giuliani."»
- 2022-01-21 AP: Wisconsin GOP lawmaker calls for election cheating in video Wisconsin state Representative Elijah Behnke (R) «was recorded on video saying that Republicans need to “cheat like the Democrats” to win elections and that he’d like to punch Democratic Gov. Tony Evers over pandemic restrictions.»
- Guardian: Texas county rejects half of mail-in ballot applications amid new voter restrictions «The voter identification rules have led to the rejection of about half of the 700 mail-in ballots requested in Travis county for primary elections in March, according to the county’s clerk. / The denied ballots in Travis county follow a similar trend across Texas, with officials in Harris county, which includes the city of Houston, and Bexar county, which includes San Antonio, also turning down a substantial number of mail-in ballot applications.»
- NPR: Trump officials interfered with the 2020 census beyond cutting it short, email shows «Former President Donald Trump's administration alarmed career civil servants at the Census Bureau by not only ending the 2020 national head count early, but also pressuring them to alter plans for protecting people's privacy and producing accurate data...»
- 2020-09-14 the email
- 2020-10-13 Census Bureau Statement on 2020 Census Data Collection Ending: this is apparently being used in right-wing circles to downplay Trump's interference
- 2022-01-13 Rachel Maddow: Fake Elector Struggles To Explain Role In Scheme To Submit False Election Papers (video, 3:52) The title is too charitable; Jake Hoffman insists that "you would need to ask the Party chair" how he was invited to sign the fake elector documents, even though the question is about his own direct experience.
- HuffPo: Ohio Justices Toss GOP Statehouse Maps, Order Fix In 10 Days: a small setback for the coup
- Rachel Maddow: Similarities Suggest Coordination In Fake Elector Letters From Republicans In Five States (video, 12:17)
- 2022-01-11 Rachel Maddow: Republicans In At Least Three States Filed Forged Elector Letters
- 2022-01-10 NC Policy Watch: Conservative groups target state, local voter registration rolls with multiple lawsuits «North Carolina’s voter rolls are like a refrigerator that needs to be cleared periodically of rotting milk and other items past their expiration date, according to Jason Torchinsky.» Why? Honest Elections Project
- 2022-01-04 NPR: Here's where election-denying candidates are running to control voting
- 2021-12-31 Newsweek: Mark Meadows Worked on Creating Fake Electoral College To Overturn Election Results
- 2021-12-21 Lincoln County looks to eliminate all polling places but one «The move was made possible after the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year disbanding the Lincoln County Board of Elections. The chief sponsor of Senate bills 282 and 283 was Sen. Lee Anderson, R-Grovetown, whose district includes Lincoln County. The newly-appointed board agreed to move forward with the “consolidation” plan and was expected to vote on it last week, but appeared to lack a quorum, several said.»
- Daily Beast: Steve Bannon Threatens to Take Over Entire U.S. 'Election Apparatus'
- Newsweek: Millions of Angry, Armed Americans Stand Ready to Seize Power If Trump Loses in 2024
- Let's talk about the Newsweek article and Trump.... (video, 7:57, Beau of the Fifth Column): argues that the article was kind of irresponsible in that it could encourage others to rally around this cause by giving it credibility and failing to put the numbers in context
- 2021-12-18 Washington Post opinion: 3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection$ (archive.org) (via, via)
- 2021-12-31 Retired general warns the U.S. military could lead a coup after the 2024 election
- 2021-12-21 Let's talk about the op-ed from the generals.... (video, 11:04, Beau of the Fifth Column)
- The Atlantic: Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun (long) «January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.»
- AP News: Trump-tied group pushing for voting changes in Wisconsin «...a ballot measure that would bypass the state’s Democratic governor to change how elections are run in the battleground state.»
- 2021-12-01 Washington Post: How Trump-backed secretary of state candidates would change elections in the United States$ (archive.org) «The ultimate win for [the Trumpists] would be to put in place secretaries of state, who oversee how elections are conducted in most states and sign off on the results. More than any other category of elected official, secretaries of state could be instrumental in overturning the popular vote in their state — an unprecedented move in American history — or take other actions that throw results into question.»
- 2021-11-29 Washington Post: Trump allies work to place supporters in key election posts across the country, spurring fears about future vote challenges$ (archive.org) «The effort goes far beyond the former president’s public broadsides against well-known Republican state officials who certified President Biden’s victory, such as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. Citing the need to make elections more secure, Trump allies are also seeking to replace officials across the nation, including volunteer poll watchers, paid precinct judges, elected county clerks and state attorneys general...»
- 2021-11-03 AP News: GOP chair funds Michigan ballot drive to toughen voting law «The primary funder of a ballot drive to toughen Michigan's voter identification law and restrict mass mailings of unsolicited absentee ballot applications is Ron Weiser, chairman of the state Republican Party.»
- 2021-09-09 Daily Kos: When Proud Boys show up at local school protests, they’re following a larger far-right blueprint
- 2021-03-22 NBC News: Trump endorses challenger to Ga. Secretary of State Raffensperger: Trump supports Jody Hice to replace Raffensberger