That it was a violent and illegal horror show, no one disputes. But can you call it a coup attempt? The most appropriate classification for this January 6 divides the experts since, under the flute of the current American President Donald Trump, militants invaded Congress. They tried to interrupt the session that certified the success of their successor, Joe Biden. And they failed.
For Steven Levitsky, author of “How Do Democracies Die?”, American democracy has suffered a coup experience, if you consider the work as a whole. “Since his defeat, Trump has sought to reverse, and even steal, the election and stay in power in an undemocratic manner,” he told Folha.
He cites as an example the episode in which the Republican pressured the Georgian Secretary of State, responsible for state elections, to “find votes” that would help him defeat Biden, because keep things as is would be “very expensive in many ways.”
“He allegedly tried to get the military to support some sort of declaration of martial law and a possible annulment of the election result. And on Wednesday he urged a crowd to attack the Capitol,” Levitksy said. “The whole process was inane and looked like a circus. It didn’t work. But it was clearly an attempted ‘coup’, as we say in Spanish.”
What was seen in Washington was “unusually bizarre and unusual,” but there is no reason to pass the label of a coup here, wrote in a City Journal article Bruno Maçães, author of “History Has Begun: The Birth of a New America “(the story began: the birth of a new America).
“The day was admittedly illegal, but there was no way to seize power by sending a cosplay gallery with eclectic characters to Congress. Even as a pretext for Trump’s military action, the event was hardly appropriate.”
If there has been a moment that has approached an illegal takeover, “the best candidate is the appeal to the secretary of Georgia,” says the political scientist in the report. “But what exists in the United States is not facts, but a reality covered by dozens of stories. Trump lives by it too. We feel like we never leave the fictions. It makes you dizzy.”
Clayton Besaw calculates the odds of Trump dealing a blow to Biden’s tenure: 0.08%. As an analyst at One Earth Future, a foundation that assesses the risks of unlawful revocation of governments, he measures similar events around the world – Sudan is the country most at risk in 2021 (5.2%), while Brazil, “with structural conditions that provide a better environment for a coup than the United States,” has 0.5%.
“Normally you would need most of the top-ranking officers on board a coup plot, and that happens when you have very weak institutions and a poor economic outlook,” Besaw says.
For now, therefore, the United States is safe. Trump’s insurgency is closer to “the electoral violence that plagues many fragile democracies,” according to Besaw.
Three parameters make it possible to define a coup: 1) are the perpetrators agents of the State, such as military officers or servants ?; 2) is the target the CEO (or the next president, in this case) ?; 3) Are the conspirators using unconstitutional methods?
The demonstration that killed five people, including that of a police officer, falls into categories two and three, which is not enough to be a coup or an attempt by one. In this gallery are Brazil in 1964 and Egypt in 2013, when General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi.
On the first requirement: the demonstrators appeared to be civilians acting on their own, and not state actors. Trump urged supporters to march to Capitol Hill, insisting the election was stolen and saying ‘we can’t stand it anymore.’ This after months of propagating plots that created a perception of government malfeasance. government in the minds of many supporters. “
Perhaps point 1 would have been completed if Trump had convinced the Secretary of State to change the votes in Georgia, or if Mike Pence, US Vice President, had accepted the leader’s proposal to unilaterally change the election result in the elections. States won by Biden. Did not happen.
Erica de Bruin, a political scientist who wrote “How to Prevent Coups,” also excludes the United States from entering this infamous list. The Trump-inflated riot is no less serious, she said. Worse yet, fraudulent attacks are easier to identify, “but we know a lot less about how to protect ourselves from anti-democratic actions,” she wrote in The New York Times.
The American newspaper devoted an op-ed to try to understand how the Congress of the self-proclaimed guardian of world democracy rose with broken glass, damaged furniture and graffiti on the walls. Thanks to the little push from the country’s greatest leader.
“There is a deep division even in how to call the events that unfolded: failed coup? Insurgency? Domestic terrorism?” History will tell.