Politics Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: Has Trump’s Next Coup Already Begun?

U.S.-style fascism with the snarling visage of serial criminal and constitutional violator Donald J. Trump is fast approaching. What are the institutions – public and civic – that could roll this back?
[Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Ralph Nader

Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun…” is the title of an article in the Atlantic, just out, by Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of many groundbreaking exposés. He describes the various maneuvers that Trump-driven Republican operatives and state legislators are developing to overturn elections whose voters elected Democrats from states with Republican governors and state legislatures. Georgia fit that profile in 2020 – electing two Democratic senators in a state with a Republican legislature and governor.

Getting ready for 2024, the Georgia GOP legislature has stripped the election-certifying Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, of his authority to oversee future election certifications. The legislature has also given itself the unbridled authority to fire county election officials. With Trump howling his lies and backing his minion candidates, they created a climate that is intimidating scores of terrified election-precinct volunteers to quit.

Added to this are GOP-passed voter suppression laws and selectively drawn election districts that discriminate against minorities – both before the vote (purges, arbitrary disqualifications), during the vote (diminishing absentee voting, and narrowing dates for their delivery), and after the election in miscounting and falsely declaring fraud.

The ultimate lethal blow to democratic elections, should the GOP lose, is simply to have the partisan GOP majority legislators benefiting from demonically-drawn gerrymandered electoral districts, declare by fiat the elections a fraud, and replace the Democratic Party’s voter chosen electors with GOP chosen electors in the legislature.

Now take this as a pattern demolishing majority voters’ choice to 14 other GOP-controlled states, greased by Trumpian lies and routing money to his chosen candidate’s intent on overturning majority rule, add Fox News bullhorns and talk radio Trumpsters and you have the apparatus for fascistic takeovers. Tragically, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices – three selected by Trump – has no problem with his usurpation of the American Republic. All this and more micro-repression is broadcast by zillions of ugly, vicious, and anonymous rants over the Internet enabled by the profiteering social media corporations like Facebook.

Anonymous, vicious, violent email and Twitter traffic is the most underreported cause of anxiety, fear, and dread undermining honest Americans working, mostly as volunteers, the machinery of local, state, and national elections, with dedicated public servants. These people are not allowed to know the names behind the anonymous cowardly, vitriol slamming against them, their families, and children.

What are the institutions – public and civic – that could roll back this fast-approaching U.S.-style fascism with the snarling visage of serial criminal and constitutional violator, Donald J. Trump?

  1. First is the Congress. Democrats impeached Trump over the Ukraine extortion but left on the table eleven other impeachable counts, including those with kitchen-table impacts (See Congressional Record, December 18, 2019).

All that is going on to deal with Trump’s abuses in any focused way on Capitol Hill, controlled by Democrats, is the House’s January 6th investigation. So far as is known, this Select Committee is NOT going to subpoena the star witnesses – Donald Trump and Mike Pence. So far, the Congress is feeble, not a Rock of Gibraltar thwarting the Trumpian dictators.

  1. The federal courts? Apart from their terminal delays, it’s Trump’s Supreme Court and his nominees fill many chairs in the federal circuit courts of appeals. The federal judiciary – historically the last resort for constitutional justice – is now lost to such causes.
  2. The Democratic Party? We’re still waiting for a grand strategy, with sufficient staff, to counter, at every intersection, the GOP. The Dems do moan and groan well. But where is their big-time ground game for getting out the non-voters in the swing states? Are they provoking recall campaigns of despotic GOP state legislators in GOP states having such citizen-voter power? Why aren’t they adopting the litigation arguments of Harvard Law School’s constitutional expert, Professor Larry Tribe? Where are their messages to appeal to the majority of eligible American voters who believe that the majority rules in elections? Why aren’t they urgently reminding voters of the crimes and other criminogenic behavior by the well-funded Trump and his political terrorists?

Bear in mind, the Democrats are well-funded too.

  1. The Legal Profession and their Bar Associations. Aren’t they supposed to represent the rule of law, protect the integrity of elections, and insist on peaceful transitions of power? They are after all, not just private citizens; they are “officers of the court.” Forget it. There are few exceptions, but don’t expect the American Bar Association and its state bar counterparts to be the sentinels and watchdogs against sinister coup d’états under cover of delusional strongarming ideologies.
  2. Well, how about the Universities, the faculties, and the students? Weren’t they the hotbeds of action against past illegal wars and violations of civil rights in the Sixties and Seventies? Sure. But that was before the Draft was eliminated, before the non-stop gazing at screens, and before the focus on identity politics absorbed the energy that fueled mobilizations about fundamental pursuits of peace, justice, and equality.
  3. How about some enlightened corporate executives of influential companies? Having been given large tax reductions, sleepy law enforcement regulators, and a corporatist-minded federal judiciary, while the war contracts and taxpayer bailouts proliferate, why should they make waves to save the Republic? The union of plutocratic big business with the autocratic government is one classical definition of fascism.
  4. The Mass Media. Taken together, they’ve done a much better job exposing Trumpism than has the Congress or litigation and the judiciary. However, their digging up the dirt does not come with the obvious follow-ups from their reporting and editorializing.

Covering the Ukraine impeachment, but not covering at least eleven other documented impeachable offenses, handed to them by credible voices, left them with digging hard but never hitting pay dirt. Trump has escaped all their muckraking as he has escaped all attempts by law enforcers who have their own unexplained hesitancies. If reporters do not dig intensely into just how Trump and his chief cohorts have escaped jail time and other penalties, their usual revelations of wrongdoings appear banal, eliciting “what else is new?” yawns by their public.

What’s left to trust and rely upon? Unorganized people organizing. What else! That’s what the farmers did peacefully in western Massachusetts in 1774 (See: The Revolution Came Early – 1774 – to the Berkshires) against the tyrant King George III and his Boston-based Redcoats? By foot or by horse, they showed up together in huge numbers at key places. These farmers collectively stopped the takeover of local governments and courts by King George’s wealthier Tories. Their actions can teach us the awesome lessons of moral, democratic, and tactical grit – all the while having to deal with nature and their endangered crops.

What are our excuses?


  1. How can we not put the GOP-Trump LLC into the context of how bad this country is? Both sides of the manure pile. Voting rights? Those have been messed with since day one, and gerrymanding, that has been on going for 40 years. The corruption is through and through, and what agency capture has done to this country, what all those MIC bucks, all those lobbies, all of it, we have 2021, as emblematic of some bad seeds already planted and germinated.

    Technocapitalists, and they are the new normal-abnormal. Both sides of the political aisle.

    A great piece Ralph should look at tied to “Civil Society,” since Ralph is a proponent of democracy from the bottom up. Chilling.


    “A global network of stakeholder capitalist partners are collaborating to usher in what they claim to be a new model of enhanced democratic accountability that includes “civil society”. However, beneath their deceptive use of the term civil society lies an ideology which offers this network an unprecedented degree of political control that threatens to extinguish representative democracy entirely.”


    This is the center and the flanks being eaten from the inside out. Inverted Totalitarianism, and Underperforming Democracy (sic) the United Snakes of Amnesia is under, a spell.

    Scheer should get Alison on board, in an interview. Try it. Amazing independent journalist and intense:


    Ralph — You know this history, and those rich, those perverted ones, they are part and parcel part of the decay, and leading it, and orchestrating it,


  2. The Dims deserve to lose big time in 2022 and go down forever (like the WHIGS did) in 2024 for DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR THE PEOPLE and screwing up COVID big time with lies, greed, death and destruction so the US has the largest number of deaths in the world because BIGPHARMA’s greed. The corruption is almost beyond belief but it is totally censored so most people don’t even know about it. Of course if a desperate Biden admin. starts a war all bets are off – wars bring people together, don’t they? and perhaps even keep total incompetents in office – like Biden and then, even worse, Harris. I can’t imagine who will be pulling her puppet strings.

    And if you think Drumpf is bad – wait til you see what’s coming up – much much worse, sad to say, IMHO. And of course the corporate media and the sick social media owned/operated by psychopathic billionaires (and the new billionaires thanks to COVID and BIGPHARMA) who also own DC and state houses across the country all play a large role in this.

    I’m not optimistic. American people are totally brainwashed by the massive propaganda – originated with Bernays during WWI and now mastered by the CIA and of course corporate media, all well paid. We live in a totally corrupted country. I’m ashamed to be an American these days.

    The answer to propaganda -well, of course, MORE propaganda. And its happening. We’re now vaccinating very young children with vaccines that are pure poison and we don’t even know all the long term effects. Whatta country.

    1. Yes the brainwashing is deep and wide and I too am disgusted to be an American.

      1. Trump and his great unwashed minions ARE America, and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can or will be able to do about it!

      2. This is a surprisingly lame column from Nader. Nader constantly talks about how both parties are controlled by the rich and their corporations, which IS fascism. He has also acknowledged that the U.S. has a one-party system with two factions. This column just describes how one faction wants to make things a little worse, but uncharacteristically for Nader, comes nowhere near the heart of the electoral problems in this country. Instead of obsessing on one of the factions is doing, how about addressing real electoral issues in the U.S., like lack of proportional representation (which includes the very good byproduct of automatically eliminating gerrymandering) and the legalized bribery known as campaign contributions?

        I hope Ralph Nader isn’t going the way of Noam Chomsky in his old age. Nader has been a shining light regarding corporate malfeasance and control of government, and columns like this one are not a good indication.

        BTW, Trump was no better or worse overall than most U.S. presidents, aside from superficial things like what he says in public. On issues like trade and war & peace he was actually better (though he didn’t prioritize those things so nothing good came of his positions), and on the environment and racism he was worse. But unfortunately, Trump is really good at pushing people’s buttons both for and against him, so those who revile him contract TDS and can no longer think straight. Ignore what ANY politician says and watch what they DO, and that includes Trump.

  3. The Democratic party does have a grand strategy; it’s just not Ralph’s.

    I will never understand why Ralph Nader insist on looking to the Democrats for a grand strategy when it is clear that the Dems are no different than the GOP. Both are beholden to the same oligarchs. Both Biden and Trump are corporate fascists; Trump just has a populist twist to it.

    As long as we buy into the good-cop/bad-cop routine, we will never break away from the Dem-GOP tag team and we will continue to live as wage slaves with ever decreasing rights, on our way to serfdom.

  4. To be followed by, “So please send your urgent donation to save our democracy!” Actually, a whole lot of us are trying to figure out just why Putin stole 2020 from Trump and gave it to Biden…

  5. No one much cares to save a republic on its last legs, sick and gaunt, whose only purpose left is to ensure that the populace ignores the corruption and incompetence plaguing their lives daily. A tyrant would wash away the last remnants of a system they no longer care to participate in.

  6. Trump’s next coup? How long is this theater of the absurd going to continue? Apparently, as long as it takes to misdirect us from the covid coup in plain sight until the trap closes. Fascism is here, and it’s not the Orange Beast, but wrapped in a mask and carrying a syringe.

    Those with either political wing of the corporate state pushing Trump derangement syndrome are collaborating with full-scale totalitarian propaganda assaults to derange us, and leave us unconscious of and alienated from what is happening in our very lives.

    Those still wanting us preoccupied with an historically corrupt electoral system while any remaining semblance of constitutional government has been usurped by medical martial law are misleading us into conditions where freedom will mean nothing and humanity will be genetically and digitally reduced to robotic slavery.

    If you want to see a coup, take a look around the world at what’s going down, if you have eyes not mesmerized by the screens and spectacles of the thought police. And if you feel like a prisoner of war, you’re getting the picture.

      1. Let’s try again. Maybe I can get it right this time!

        Member of the European Parliament Answers Australia’s SOS

    1. And the East Coast Chosen Ones, in the New York Times, Media Mush in General, will continue to pull the wool over the dumb downed USA. Those winners who are entwined in group think, oh, the lot of them — any political pervert standing on top of or near either party’s manure pile — they are the corrupted Eichmann Little Big Men and Women.

      Imagine all the REAL work to be done in USA — safe water, air, soil, public usable transportation, real housing, real education, real sustainable farming, real retrenchment for global heating, real brakes on the forever chemicals, the persistent pollutants and the incredible daily weathering Capitalism does on the 80 Perccent. Oh, the pitchforks, for the 19 percenters. Oh, the internment camps for the One Percenters. Oh, the Soylent Green for the .01 Percent.

      The lies and Nazi history of USA, the deep cultural cancer of the white race, the Indian murdering, the native land theft, the slaves upon this Turtle Island, and now, the underclass, all those who believe that Big Pharma and Big Idea DARPA and CIA and all the other spook agencies, that they are all telling the truth and are holders of truth.

      This is not complicated, what has been unfolding for decades. It is not post-doc level researching to figure out where the viral weaponization and bacteria bombs and the chemical tools of the WWII and post-WWII have brought us.

      Come on. Dropping those nukes on two Japanese cities? And, now what — they are allies in the spook game, and yet, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, et al? Enemies at the Gate.

      And then there is Saudi Arabia. And then “Israel.” Imagine that, how fluid those two parties and two administrations have been.

      It seems as if these stories will continue to clog up the Scheer Report blogs until the chickens come home to roost. It is theater, and it is navel gazing, and as a former fulltime reporter, I see this unfolding as a writing-speaking-complaining to the choir.

      Yep, the coup was a long time ago. Cecil Rhodes anyone?



  7. What happened and what didn’t last Thursday and Friday is an excellent punctuation mark at the end of Biden’s first year because it is so emblematic of this president’s most fundamental characteristic: We now have to count Biden an ineffectual bumbler in the same file as, say, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, or (regrettably, given his better qualities) Jimmy Carter.

    It is Biden’s ill fortune to assume the presidency at precisely the point of inflection when the American empire enters a phase of steep, irreversible decline. Joe “America is back” Biden had two alternatives as he took office. He could pretend history had not merely stopped — it would reverse, and it was his job to restore the empire to the tarnished glory of the post–1945 decades. Or he could, as Jack Kennedy intended before the Deep State murdered him, get America out of the business of empire and advance it according to a new, more humane ethos.

    The man from Scranton has chosen wrongly out of a deficit of courage. And now he emerges as the maestro of many messes.


  8. oligarchy fake media=atlantic mag
    nader is an anti-intellectual technician
    more TDS lies and dissimulation
    “the narcissism of small differences”
    morality, sociological American peculiarities always avoided
    only idiots vote in an oligarchy police state where election laws are only found in dictatorships like azerbijian
    who wants more corruption? in civilized nations voting ID required and voting by mail not permitted except for citizens that reside elsewhere

  9. Why would Ralph Nader care which faction of the only party gets elected? He has said repeatedly that we have a one-party duopoly. I hope he hasn’t turned into a damn Democrat.

    What Americans should be focused on regarding elections is 1) getting proportional representation (also solves the gerrymandering problem) and 2) eliminating all private campaign contributions. Which faction of the duopoly gets elected is relatively meaningless.

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