Authoritarian Regime Expert Sees ‘The Fingerprints Of An Attempted Coup In Progress’

A look at defining a coup, concerns for the future and a prescription for moving forward.

By Jill Ament & Laura RiceJanuary 8, 2021 12:19 pm

It’s not necessary that agree on the use of the word “coup” to conclude we need to take the events leading up to the storming of the U.S. Capitol seriously, University of Texas at Austin Associate Professor Kenneth Greene, told Texas Standard.

“The strategy and the actors don’t fit the definition of a coup in the narrowest sense,” Greene said. “But if we think about this as a process rather than a single event, then what’s unfolded over the last two months has the fingerprints of an attempted coup in progress.”

The bottom line, he said: “President Trump and his allies are trying to set aside the results of certified elections at the state level and install an unelected citizen as president on January 20.”

And, Greene said, we need to worry not only about the next 12 days of Trump’s presidency but the longer-term outlook.

“I’m very worried about the ascent of white supremacist groups, and I’m very worried about political polarization, both of which have been stoked by the Trump administration,” Greene said. “And I’m extremely worried about the long-term erosion of democratic norms.”

Greene says the United States needs to pursue a “democratic recovery to go along with the economic one.”

Along with providing pandemic relief, he advocates making it easier for people to participate in the electoral process. He says that means harnessing the engagement on both sides of the aisle and giving people a “pro-democracy conservative party.”

“How is the Republican Party going to rebound from this tremendous loss if it’s President Trump and his allies that take the reins and they just continue to sow doubt and incite and undermine the Democratic recovery?” Greene said. “It’s going to be tough going. So, in my view, now is the time for pro-democracy Republican voices among the governors and senators to really step up.”

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