Ivan Hoffman, B.A., J.D.


          The coup d’état has already started.  The President and his army of “warriors” and sycophants including the clearly complicit Republican Party in nearly its entirety, have all lined up to be part of that coup, better to be on the winning side even of a dictatorship. 

          Americans have no frame of reference for what is happening to our democracy.  We are scrambling to “wrap our minds” around what we are seeing.   What is happening now is but a continuation of the pattern started at the beginning and followed by firings, dismantling of government agencies, demanding of loyalty oaths and lying.  We believe that these are things that happen only “over there,” in the “third world,” to others with a history of such things.  But not here, not in America, the land of the free, the “shining city on a hill.”  As I wrote in “Diabolical!  Just Diabolical,” “…it may be that good people are not capable of imagining that anyone can be so cruel.”          

          But a coup d’état is indeed underway and although we are seeing it unfold every day, and we even talk about it, we seem powerless to combat the evil which is taking over our nation and emboldening our enemies.  The President and the Republicans and the federal courts have used our naiveté, our innocence, in the same way that conquering nations used the naiveté and innocence of their conquered peoples to destroy those peoples.  When the old colonial powers came to the New World, many of the native populations welcomed them because those peoples had no frame of reference for being “conquered.”  

          When someone, especially the President, tells us directly what he intends, we allow it to pass and tsk.  But he is telling us what he intends to do and is doing exactly that.   He has been telling us in no uncertain terms for the entirety of his term in office that he wants to be a dictator. 

          He has brazenly ignored the laws and the Constitution at nearly every opportunity.  He tells us that he will seek a third term despite the Constitution.  

          The President stated:   

 “We'll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very — we'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation.” 

          “GET RID OF THE BALLOTS!!!!”  The vote will not matter and will not count.  He wants to declare that he won and have the courts, especially the Supreme Court with its likely 6-3 very conservative majority, uphold his declaration.  In other words, the Court, a non-elected organ, should decide who is president, not the voters.  He said that and we need to pay attention. 

          This is not a traditional coup d’état where a head of state is undemocratically deposed with the support of armed troops.  This is not Chile when Pinochet overthrew Allende in 1973.   This is a coup d’état in which the head of state assumes full control over the government and declares himself despot, ruler, king, dictator…with the support of armed militias (which he has already told to “stand by”) and with the willing support of the legislature and the courts.   The parallels to Nazi Germany in 1932 and 1933 are undeniable.  Hitler had the German legislature pass the “Law On The Allegiance of Civil Servants and Soldiers of the Armed Forces,” requiring everyone pledge their loyalty to him, personally, as the Führer, and not to Germany.    We see the President divert our attention from his failures and misdeeds to the “deep state” and are reminded of how Hitler diverted the attention of the German people by claiming conspiracies to undermine him on the part of the Jews and the Communists.  The President’s allies may not be called Goebbels or Goering or Himmler, but the roles they play are the same.  The playbook is virtually identical.  Read “The Enabling Act” and “1932.”   Hitler came to power through the use of the laws and then consolidated his power and took over the legislature and the courts and everyone went along and it was a done deal, a fait accompli.   

          And everyone in the Republican party is lining up to be on the “winning” side.  No one wants to be left standing when the music stops.   

          And make no mistake: the music is stopping.   

          And when it stops, the entirety of the American people and our democracy will be without a chair.    Or healthcare.  Or Social Security.  Or Medicare.   Or clean air.   Or clean water.  Or freedom.

          Everything is primed for a declaration under the Insurrection Act.  I will go into further details in a forthcoming article. 

What Can We Do? 

          In “Respect for the Law” I wrote: 

                    The fragility of the law is due, in large part, to the fact that there actually is no law outside of that which we elect to have as law.  The law is not self-fulfilling.  Writing some statute into a code book, having a court interpret a law, does not make anything happen.  Law only is effective to the degree that we, the individuals who make up our society, elect to have it be effective.  We are totally responsible for the continuation and effectiveness of the law.  If enough of us agree the law or a given aspect of the law is not reflective of who we are as a society, that law goes unenforced or in some instances, is repealed or overruled by court decision.   

          In other words, we are the law.  The law doesn’t exist in a vacuum…it exists because we want it to exist.  If we stop wanting it to exist, it will cease to exist. 

          In one sense, this puts us at a disadvantage because the other side does not care about the law.  The other side believes the law is for “suckers,” “losers,” “fools,” “schmucks.”    

          We have the press and journalists, although the coup’s attack on them is relentless and thus who knows how long free press will last.            

          I would continue to like to believe we have the courts.

          And we have the vote.  We have the vote.    

          So there is hope amidst the darkness. 


Copyright © 2020 Ivan Hoffman.  All Rights Reserved. 


Ivan Hoffman has been practicing intellectual property law for over 47 years and has written extensively about the topic. (  


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