The Soviet State Committee on the State of Emergency, August, 1991
The period directly following election day in November may be a moment of truth for all of us. As our own country seems headed for a political crisis, with the enemies of deplorable America making noises suggesting they are planning a post-election move against Trump, the failed Soviet coup of 1991, and the collapse that it spurred on, might be instructive.
The key point in the events of August of that year in Moscow came when Soviet military and security units refused to move against Boris Yeltsin and the defenders of the Russian “White House.” Could something like that happen here, with Trump playing the Yeltsin role?
Election day chaos ahead
What yours truly has dubbed the globalist Blob has been signaling for some time that it has no intention of yielding to Trump come election day. Hillary Clinton, in her guise as the post-American Madam Defarge of the present cultural revolution, has even stated publicly that Joe Biden should not concede the election to Trump “under any circumstances.”
Meanwhile, the Democrats, with help from the Never Trumpers, have been “wargaming” scenarios for preventing Trump from taking office should he win in November, developing a plan for what Trump has correctly described as “an insurrection.” The plan is to claim that Trump has stolen, or attempted to steal, the election. “As far as our enemies are concerned,” as I wrote here last month, “they are on the right side of history, and neither election law nor the Constitution or any antiquated notions about fair play will stop them.”
The mail-in balloting plan plays into the Blob’s wargaming. If the Democrats can’t swing the election their way by hook or crook, then the lengthy process of accounting for all the mail-in ballots could be used as a means to sow confusion and chaos, giving them room to maneuver in the aftermath of election day.
The Blob’s minions have been signaling their intention to drag out the vote count. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, for example, declared on “Face the Nation” that her state would not be held to any “artificial deadlines” for reporting election results. In an example of psychological projection that has become typical for the Democrats, Whitmer further claimed that those who might want to expedite the vote count had “political agendas.”
Meanwhile, the Blob’s militant wing has been circulating a plan for post-election disruption. A leftist group calling itself ShutDownDC plans to prevent a Trump “coup”—more projection there—by shutting down the country and forcing Trump out if the vote is too close to call. The plan calls for “sustained disruptive movements all over the country.” The militants also state that they intend to demand that “no winner be announced until every vote is counted.”
ShutDownDC further proclaims that it has no intention of allowing the country to return to normal. The goal is to “dismantle” what it calls “interlocking systems of oppression.” This isn’t just about an election—it’s a blueprint for completing the left’s anti-American cultural revolution.
In the chaos that appears increasingly likely after election day, we may not even have a clear idea of what happened and, indeed, that may be part of the Blob’s design.
Could the military be used against Trump?
In a recent segment on “critical race theory” gaining traction at the Pentagon, Tucker Carlson wondered just why the left was so intent on capturing the military. Our answer to that was that the Blob was contemplating the possibility of using the military as part of an attempt to block a second Trump term.
It’s quite clear that the top military brass has been subject to “the Great Awokening” and Trump derangement syndrome as much as the rest of the federal bureaucracy. The military bureaucracy has steadfastly resisted Trump’s inclination to disengage from foreign interventions. Moreover, the Pentagon has also resisted Trump’s order to stop indoctrinating its personnel in “critical race theory.”
In his book Rage, Bob Woodward reports that former Defense Secretary and retired Marine General James Mattis once commented to then Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats that “There may come a time when we have to take collective action” against Trump, since Mattis deemed the president “dangerous” and “unfit.” It’s likely that General Mattis’s view of Trump is widely shared among top level military officers.
So how might the military figure into the Blob’s wargaming plans? Peter van Buren has contemplated a post-election scenario in which a “temporary” military government might be pitched as the only way to break an electoral deadlock and end post-election disorder. Van Buren reminded us that Trump’s opponents have never accepted his legitimacy, that “Russiagate” was good practice for them—good practice for a coup, that is—and that they are gearing up for an all-out effort to dislodge him from the White House.
Van Buren further noted that Joe Biden, who has claimed that it is Trump who “is going to try and steal this election,” has also stated quite plainly that if Trump refuses to leave the White House, he is “absolutely convinced” that the military would “escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”
It’s worth mentioning that Mr. van Buren is not a Trump supporter, was a career foreign service officer, and is an honest man, an Iraq war whistle blower who wrote an excellent book on his experiences in that country. He does not believe that a Pentagon-backed coup is merely “paperback thriller material.” It’s a plausible scenario. Van Buren, noting the media Narrative that is laying the groundwork for a post-election move against Trump, commented “They’re setting it up, aren’t they?”
Many Republicans might even welcome “our military” riding to the rescue as the country enters a period of political crisis—but just whose rescue would a “woke” military brass have in mind?
Nevertheless, an attempt to use the military to block Trump’s re-election could result in the coup plotters stepping into a trap of their own making.
The failed Soviet coup and its aftermath
A review of the failed 1991 coup attempt in the Soviet Union raises some questions that could be applied here as well.
On August 18, 1991, with Mikhail Gorbachev preparing to sign a treaty that would have de-centralized the Soviet Union, his political opponents in the Soviet leadership arrested the father of perestroika reforms at his Crimea dacha, proclaiming that the Soviet State Committee on the State of Emergency was in charge.
The conspiracy against Gorbachev had been organized by KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov and six other top level political and security officials who were alarmed by Gorbachev’s reforms, reforms which had already loosed centrifugal forces in the USSR that threatened the power of the Communist party and the Soviet apparatus.
Within three days, the coup attempt collapsed.
Boris Yeltsin at the Russian White House, August 19, 1991
The coup failed because of resistance by then Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin and his supporters, and the refusal of elite military and security units to move against them.
On August 19, Muscovites gathered at the Russian “White House,” the seat of Russia’s parliament in central Moscow, and erected barriers around it. Boris Yeltsin climbed atop a tank to address the crowd. Yeltsin condemned the State Emergency Committee as an unlawful gang of coup plotters and called for military and security forces not to support the “gang of eight.”
Major Sergey Yevdokimov, a battalion commander in the Tamanskaya Division, had already declared his loyalty to Yeltsin (hence the tank on which Yeltsin made his historic stand). Yevdokimov later said that early on he had decided that he would not fire on any Russian citizens. As his battalion approached the White House, one of Yeltsin’s supporters climbed on Yevdokimov’s tank and asked him to come over to their side. The major made his historically significant choice, setting in motion events that would help thwart the coup.
KGB special forces units never appeared at the scene. When the planned assault on the White House (“Operation Thunder”) failed to materialize after a brief skirmish, it was clear that the coup had failed. The end result was the collapse of the Communist party and the Soviet administrative apparatus and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
That was a surprise to the majority of Kremlinologists at the time.
Of course, the situation in the US military and with Trump is not exactly analogous to that of Yeltsin and the Soviet officers and men who sabotaged the “gang of eight’s” coup plan.
For starters, Trump is operating in a hostile environment (“the Swamp”) dominated and controlled by his enemies. The generals are not on his side. It seems unlikely that a large group of citizens from the DC area would quickly materialize to support Trump if some sort of military-backed coup plan unfolded. It’s possible, however, that Trump may not even be in Washington when a coup plan is set in motion, leaving him an opportunity to do what he does best—hold mass rallies to fire up his support base, most likely in “deplorable” areas of the country.
The deplorables could be galvanized into action if the Blob oversteps after the election. Both “red” and “blue” areas across the country are effectively separating, threatening secession from the United States, and practicing nullification. The as yet inchoate Middle American resistance has shown it is capable of fighting back.
We don’t know exactly how the military might be used, but its plausible, as noted above, that general disorder and a deadlock over the elections might act as a cover to deploy military units, then use them as part of a plan to force Trump out. And that raises the same question Soviet officers and men were faced with in August, 1991: Would the “boots on the ground” obey orders?
Trump may be despised by top level officers, but my sense is that he is popular with the rank-and-file. What if a significant number of them refused to obey a clearly illegal order? It may take only one Major Yevdokimov refusing unlawful orders for the whole plot to unravel.
Neither side appears to be ready to accept the results of the election if it goes against them—the deplorables have good reason to think the Blob will rig or otherwise steal or reverse the election results. The past four years have already taught them that. And the Blob’s media arm has been hard at it selling the Narrative of Trump stealing the election. The Democrats’ base appears to be ready and willing to accept drastic measures against Trump and the Middle Americans they loath.
The potential for a seismic political crisis is clear.
The end of politics and the fate of the American remnant
With perhaps the most pivotal election in American history upon us, the Soviet example shows what can happen. The best-laid plans of coup plotters — in our case, the Democrats, Never Trumpers, and military bureaucrats who suggest they won’t accept a Trump re-election victory — could easily fail without support.
Middle American deplorables and troops in the ranks might not support what the anti-Trump coup contingent is planning.
What we are witnessing is what I’ve called “the end of politics” coming to fruition, as American elections become more like the zero-sum games they are in the undeveloped world. It seems likely that a post-election crisis, especially a force majeure situation precipitated by military intervention, would accelerate the centrifugal forces already at work in the United States.
The failure of a coup attempt could do to the Democrats’ “coalition of the fringes” what the failure of the August coup did to the Communists in the USSR, opening up room to maneuver for the American remnant.
Given the circumstances, with the demographic ring closing in on Middle America, that may be a providential outcome for the deplorables.
This article appeared earlier on VDare.com.
Wayne Allensworth is a Corresponding Editor of Chronicles magazine. He is the author of The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia, and a novel, Field of Blood.