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Is it Actually Possible for Trump to Stage a Coup to Stay in Office for a Second Term?

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Reporter: Prim Kamolyabutr 14.11.2020

Photo from ABC News article

All the news outlets recently have been buzzing and talking about the Presidential Election in the United States between Trump and Biden. As seen from the results, Joe Biden has won the presidential election, and Donald Trump and other Republicans refuse to acknowledge Biden’s win because he is holding on to the fact that there is a constitutional path forward for him to potentially remain as president. Many worry that the president and other Republicans will do whatever it takes to stay in power and although they have already lost, this may not be the end of it.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said. However, despite all Trump’s machinations, it is extremely unlikely that he can find a way to stay in power or stage a coup. This is because Joe Biden had projected to win far more electoral votes than he needs to be president, surpassing 270. The votes he receives doesn’t hinge on one state since he has insurmountable leads in Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Although the Republicans tried to appoint these states into their own electors, the federal law shows that there is no evidence of systemic fraud of wrongdoing in the states that voted for Biden therefore it is clear that those votes are not hinged at all no matter how much they try to prove that it is. For Trump to win the electoral college, several states would have to take this extraordinary step that would cause extreme backlash and a real crisis of democracy throughout the country.

Regardless of however long a dispute is, and whether or not counting is still going to continue, the constitution does set one final deadline to end at noon on 20 January. At that point if there isn’t a final result in the race, the speaker of the House would become the acting president.

“If the country continues to follow the rule of law, I see no plausible constitutional path forward for Trump to remain as president barring new evidence of some massive failure of the election system in multiple states,” Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in elections, wrote in an email. “It would be a naked, antidemocratic power grab to try to use state legislatures to get around the voters’ choice and I don’t expect it to happen.”


Levine, Sam. “Can Trump Actually Stage a Coup and Stay in Office for a Second Term?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Nov. 2020,


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