Politics Nearly a year after Jan. 6, US democracy remains perilously fragile
Sunday shows - Officials brace for Jan. 6 anniversary
The upcoming one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol dominated the political talk shows on Sunday morning. The U.S. Capitol Police chief discussed improvements in the past year, and key members of the House panel investigating Jan. 6 provided updates on the probe.Multiple guests also discussed developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, including the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for asymptomatic individuals who test positive for the virus.Read The Hill's complete coverage below.Capitol Police chief says force plans 'more well thought out' after Jan.
On Jan. 20, 2021, most Americans breathed a sigh of relief. President Biden's inauguration went off without a hitch. Trump's attempt to overturn the results of the election had failed. Even conservative states attorneys, election officials and judges hadhis spurious allegations of voter fraud. The FBI had arrested many of the terrorists who had stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and was aggressively pursuing the rest.
Democracy itself seemed to be the big winner, and many of us believed politics was returning to normal.
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That hope proved forlorn. During the past year, Trump has doubled down on the "Big Lie," the unfounded claim that he won the election. The myth that it was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud has become Republican orthodoxy, accepted by. He has made accepting it a loyalty test in what is now his party. In May, Trump supporters formed the political action committee to target 10 house Republicans who voted to impeach the former president.
Rhetoric alone, however, is no cause for concern. A lie does not become truth by endlessly repeating it, but a lie can become the basis for action. Using unfounded claims of voter fraud as a pretext, Republicans have been making it harder for Democrats to vote. Under the guise of election security, 19 states have passed more. These laws restrict voting by mail, tighten (already more than adequate) identification requirements, reduce the number of polling places, shorten the time for early voting, and/or increase the number of voters per precinct (which leads to longer wait times). Many of these laws, such as , unduly impact minorities, who tend to vote Democratic.
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Republicans are moving rapidly to cement minority rule — and the Constitution is to blame.In the past year, the Republicans have used their control over state governments to gerrymander congressional districts in their favor, all but ensuring a GOP majority in the House in 2022. They have made it harder for citizens, disproportionately of color, to vote. They have made it easier for Republican officials to sabotage the administration and outcome of elections. Many fear that Donald Trump and his thugs could overturn the results of a free and fair election in 2024, as they failed to do in 2020.
Restricting access to the ballot box is just one part of the strategy. Across the country, Republicans are replacing nonpartisanwith party loyalists, and Trump candidates for secretary of state who accept the big lie. These partisan officials could refuse to certify elections results, as after the 2020 election.
Even more pernicious are laws passed bygiving legislatures power to interfere in elections. These statutes make it easier to challenge and even invalidate results. Conservative jurists have been arguing that state have the power to appoint electors. In such a scenario a state legislature could invalidate a Democratic victory and appoint Republican electors, thus negating the will of its own people. These efforts by Trump supporters led journalist to conclude that the effort to subvert the 2024 presidential election has already begun.
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With Sudan's fragile transition to democracy all but dead, the United States and Europe have issued a stark warning to the Sudanese military. "Unilateral action to appoint a new Prime Minister and Cabinet would undermine those institutions' credibility and risks plunging the nation into conflict," Norway, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and the European Union said in a joint statement Tuesday. "In the absence of progress, we would look to accelerate efforts to hold those actors impeding the democratic process accountable.
Video: One year later: Recap of events since Jan. 6 attack (NBC News)
The strategy may not work. Restrictive voting laws still face numerous. Democrats control , and nine states with Republican-controlled legislatures have . Even if they do not change the outcome, however, these measures increase the likelihood of contentious elections, including confrontations at polling places.
If legal efforts to subvert the 2024 election fail, the threat of violence remains. A recentby the Public Religion Research Institute revealed that 18 percent of all Americans and 30 percent of Republicans agree with the statement: "True American patriots might have to resort to violence in order to save our country." In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, extremist groups may have gone underground, but they have not gone away. A March by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and militia violent extremists present the most lethal" domestic extremist threat. Most racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists are .
The 'hero' of Jan. 6 should embrace the truth
It appears as if Pence is trying to have it both ways. He wants to regain his moral, political leader status and attend conservative GOP and Christian events without being booed. Thus, he sends emails about values and "Defending the Faith" - perhaps hoping to run for president in 2024. Yet, disgracefully, Jan. 6 is not mentioned on the website for his PAC, Advancing American Freedom. What does he fear?Along with Trump, Pence knows the entire truth about the events leading up to Jan. 6., but Pence's desire to regain power appears to supplant his yearning to speak the truth.
Threehave called on the military to prepare for another insurrection in 2024 and warn that politically-motivated members of the armed forces might take sides. This would be a worst-case scenario that seems unlikely given the against Black Lives Matter protesters as Trump demanded. In December, the issued "guidance on plans to counter extremist activity in the force." Though probably not extensive, the presence of , some of whom participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection, is worrisome.
During the almost 40 years that I have taught Western and World Civilizations, I have often told students what a remarkable thing the orderly transfer of power that occurs at a U.S. presidential inauguration is. Over the course of history, people with power have often refused to give it up, even in ostensibly democratic countries. The rigged presidential election in, which gave Daniel Ortega a fourth term in November, is a case in point.
The political system we have long taken for granted is now in jeopardy. American democracy rests on a consensus that elections are free and fair. Before 2020, the integrity of a U.S. presidential election had not been seriously questioned since. In that election, unlike 2020, there were legitimate grounds for challenging the outcome. Despite the controversy, the parties resolved the issue through compromise.
At the Races: A year later …
Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call campaign team. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here. Much of official Washington and the Capitol Hill community, including CQ Roll Call’s own reporters and photographers, are marking today’s anniversary of the […] The post At the Races: A year later … appeared first on Roll Call.
No president before Trump has refused toan election since the tradition of formally doing so began in 1896. Even after exhausting every avenue of appeal, failing to replace the with a loyalist who would validate his claims of election fraud, and unable to get Vice President Mike Pence to , Trump clung to the myth that he won the election. Mounting evidence suggests he was plotting a to stay in power.
Neither Trump's behavior nor acceptance of the "Big Lie" by his supporters is surprising. The willingness of all but a handful of congressional Republicans to call him out on it is. Even those who privatelythe election was fair refuse to say so in public. The party has made a devil's bargain for which the rest of us may have to pay.
If an election result can be invalidated, either by legal chicanery or force of arms, the United States will no longer be a democracy. To prevent that from happening we must be vigilant and proactive.
Tom Mockaitis is a professor of history at DePaul University and author of "."
Analysis: Joe Biden confronts challenges to democracy at home and abroad this week .
President Joe Biden's fresh vow to save democracy faces an immediate test at home and abroad this week, with a long-shot voting rights push and the most critical US diplomacy with Russia since the Cold War. © DREW ANGERER/AFP/POOL/AFP via Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. - Thousands of supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a bid to prevent the certification of Biden's election victory.