When the President of the United States has spent months in advance casting doubt on the election process and priming his supporters for open revolt, it takes more than an Electoral College defeat, and far more than a convincing loss in the popular vote, to send him packing. As 2020 draws to a close, despite certified state election results, official votes of state Electors, and scores of failed and baseless legal challenges, Donald J. Trump is still resisting the peaceful transfer of power, with possibly millions of his followers - and more than a few prominent Republican politicians - along for the ride. This resistance has come perilously close to a coup attempt, albeit ultimately ineffectual. Here is what it has taken to make Trump's attempted coup a non-starter: The commitment of many Republican judges, governors, attorneys general, secrataries of state, and other officials to the rule of law, above party and personal loyalty. We should all be grateful for that.
In the early post-election period, many Republican officials appeared to be in deep denial, and some even seemed willing to tag along as Trump steered in the direction of a coup. In the midst of a tsunami of stupid remarks aimed at placating Trump and denying the ever-clearer Biden victory, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's on-camera remark about a "smooth transition to a second Trump administration" stands out. Giving Pompeo the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this was just a sarcastic remark leading into more serious statements, but it is hard not to take it seriously when uttered by a high official during a televised press briefing. Perhaps we can all laugh about this in the future, but for now, millions of rank-and-file Trump supporters are still feeding off such idiotic remarks, and their disappointment and anger will be with us for a long time to come. For that we should be far from grateful.