What happens if Trump loses the election but refuses to leave office

Of course. “Do I see Lieutenant Calley? Do I see Captain Medina? Do I see Gen’ral Kostner and all his crew?” I’m old enough to have had at least a nascent political awareness when those things happened, to say nothing of Abu Ghraib. (The first that I really became aware that politicians were … human … came when I saw my congressman throw a punch right at a Chicago cop on national television on the floor of the 1968 Democratic convention.)

But note that the atrocities happened at relatively low levels - the orders may have originated from on high, but the atrocities were not committed by an organized action of a large military unit, but by relatively few individual platoon and company commanders and the soldiers under their command. In the case of Sơn Mỹ, the soldiers who tried to stop it were denounced as traitors at the time, but eventually decorated for heroism in saving unarmed non-combatants.

In the nightmare scenario, you likely will see individual platoons, companies, maybe even battalions entering the fray on one side or another. The indoctrination that the military don’t step into American politics runs deep enough in the officer corps, though, that you’re extremely unlikely to see a whole regiment or division fighting as a unit. And the uncertainty over who’s really in charge and the confusion over conflicting orders would greatly hamper their effectiveness. Either the chain of command will be intact, and the military will be staying out of domestic politics, or else they will be fighting as an extremely well-armed but disorganized rabble.

Trump would just roll over Biden, and he’s massive enough that the rolling would suffocate the poor guy, if not break ribs.

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Donny Boy would suffer a stroke before he could even gain deadly momentum. Death by cheeseburger.

Tell that to the civilians killed by American bombing campaigns in Cambodia.


Yes, you can get the US soldiers, sailors, and airmen to attack targets abroad that are entirely inappropriate. (The diplomacy of strategic target selection is beyond their pay grade.)

Do you think they would do to Interstate 95 what they did to the Ho Chi Minh Trail?

But if Biden had a Trans Am…

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I have this discussion with a coworker on a regular basis. I really can’t see the USA EVER throwing a current or past president in jail. Hell we rarely jail rich people - a rich ex-president, I don’t think so. Trump may spend the rest of his life fighting state charges but I really doubt he’ll ever see a jail cell.

I tend to agree. Unless there is something particularly egregious (like it’s true he was helping the Iranians to launder money), there’s a tendency to avoid a precedent of jailing former presidents.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t be investigated and prosecuted. It just means he’ll get to stay out while appeals are ongoing. And his kids are fair game. Would anyone be surprised if he cut a deal that sent one of his sons to prison?

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