In Response to the Coup Attempt, What do We Demand?

by William Silversmith

In an attempt to get ahead of the awful civil liberties shredding direction the media and politicians will inevitably take the discourse post-coup, I will offer my thoughts. Without a set of popular demands to fill the space, the discourse will only get worse. Fortunately, several representatives such as Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Ed Markey, and Cori Bush have already started talking about concrete things that can be done.

Here’s my current list of suggested demands that includes each of theirs, expands on them, and discusses why each demand is necessary and useful.

Immediately Remove Trump

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

Further agitation toward a coup is more difficult after the President is removed from power. Additionally, there have been ongoing stories reflecting ambitions by his administration to provoke Iran into a war. With Trump removed, both scenarios are put at a further remove.

Impeaching Trump, which may be possible after removal from office under the 25th amendment would also make him ineligible for 2024.

The right will accuse the Democrats of attempting a coup. Perhaps you are already laughing.

Severely Discipline or Expel Coup Supporters in Congress

The only reason the attempted coup was possible was the institutional support of members of congress objecting to the certification and the Praetorian guard’s sympathetic treatment of the conspirators. The consequence for attempting to overthrow a democracy should at the very least be getting banned from official control over it.

The alternative is to leave them in place in Congress where they will happily foment a civil war over the coming years.

Call for the Abolition of the Electoral College

This is the only positive demand that could generate a better future for the left. Without the archaic anti-majoritarian structure of the electoral college, this opportunity would not have presented itself. Instead, like many other democracies, we should have a swift national popular vote that is counted within hours and confirmed the same day.

The mechanism to accomplish this is not a constitutional amendment (at least not yet), but pressuring or cajoling non-party states to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Once the electoral college is de-facto useless, a constitutional amendment may be possible. (

Support the Demands of BLM and Anti-Racist People’s Organizations

The coup plotters were an amalgam of neo-Confederates, Q-Anon believers, White Nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Trump Supporters (and undoubtedly a few that had little clue what they were getting into but went along with it).

Obviously, the common thread there is not only far right ideology and conspiratorial thinking, but the idea that they should be in charge of their “inferiors”, which was abundantly demonstrated over the summer to incur a deep seated contempt for Black people and other non-white groups. Therefore, the remedy is to assist in spirit and with labor and finances the grassroots democratic organizations that fight against what these people stand for.

Demand No Restrictions on Civil Liberties

Inevitably, the elites will see this as “populism” (ahistorically defined) raging out of control and will attempt to implement various kinds of censorship and police crackdowns on grassroots political organizations. This always hits the left harder than the right. In any case, the police already have the powers they need to crack down on the kinds of groups that would attack not only the Capitol, but the House, the most democratic feature of the American constitutional framework. If not, the purpose of the police up to this point is laughable even according to their own stated purposes.

No expansion of police powers or funding is acceptable. No expansion of corporate power to suppress people’s organizations is acceptable.

Scroll to Top