When Trump was facing impeachment there were threats from some of his supporters that they would plunge the country into a civil war. Supposing the election is close, what if he refuses to leave the White House after losing the upcoming election and his supporters take up arms to keep him in office, would the US government and new president cave into his demands by forming a coalition?

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    This is not really a meaningful concept in the US system. Are you asking whether the Constitution would be replaced with a parliamentary system that would enable this?
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 22:09
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    Well, he's no longer the President so he has no authority and can be removed. Doubt this would even be something plausible.
    – Noah
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 22:22
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    Problem with this question is it asks would the US government and new president cave into his demands by forming a coalition, which is effectively asking for a prediction of the future. How would anyone be able to do that? Nobody can say for certain who is going to win the election, let alone what the winner is going to do.
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 1:55
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    re: "refuses to leave the White House"? We elect presidents. Power is not apportioned to whomever happens to occupy a building like a game of king of the castle; it is entrusted to the winner of the EC.
    – dandavis
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 8:52
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    @MartinSchröder you're off by a day and a minute. The term ends at 2021-01-20T12:00 EST. Furthermore, the term ends even if a new president isn't sworn in.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


Note: I originally considered voting to close the question as too hypothetical, but technically I think it has a logical answer.

This scenario describes a coup: taking power by force or threat. The success of a coup usually depends whether the army supports it or not. If the coup succeeds the dictator has no reason to form a coalition with anybody. If the coup fails, the wannabe dictator and their accomplices are judged for treason, not invited to form a coalition.

[edit] As suggested in the comments, in this case the Secret Service would probably just remove the non-elected president from the White House (unless they decide to support the coup, which is very unlikely). Presumably the illegal attempt to seize power would still be punishable.

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    For the particular case in the question, the secret service may be important. The outgoing president would presumably no longer be authorized to be in the White House, so the secret service should remove him. Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 0:02
  • this would be more of a reverse coup, not taking power but keeping it.
    – dandavis
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 8:49
  • @dandavis It would be a coup. It would overthrow the legal order, the constitution, the courts, etc.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 14:16
  • @PatriciaShanahan Since we are being hypothetical anyway: who appoints members of the secret service, who appoints top generals? Could the President replace them all with people who they believe will remain loyal to them in the event of the scenario considered in the question?
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 14:18
  • The Secret Service is singular.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:23

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