But public perception is fluid and complicated — how does a large group come to believe something intangible? The danger in any situation where you have a chaotic actor like Trump going on about something, and a class of people constantly putting it back into play as a possibility, is a softening of the ground. Before the 2016 election, the late Charles Krauthammer wrote that while there were many problems with Trump, his insistence on jailing Hillary Clinton might reign supreme. “In democracies, the electoral process is a subtle and elaborate substitute for combat, the age-old way of settling struggles for power,” he wrote. “One doesn’t even talk like this. It takes decades, centuries, to develop ingrained norms of political restraint and self-control. But they can be undone in short order by a demagogue feeding a vengeful populism.”
And given there isn’t much actually for you, the citizen, to do in advance of a coup a few years off (stockpile arms? $25 before the midnight deadline does not fend off a coup), it’s worth considering what else people who want you to be concerned about a coup have to say.