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Democracy in Danger

Thu, 01/06/2022 - 12:30


Today marks the one-year anniversary of one of the darkest days in United States history. Jan. 6, 2021, was when a mob of supporters of the loser of a fair election surged into the U.S. Capitol. The tragic events of that day were also just a single point in a long, slow coup plotted by Donald Trump’s closest advisers — and a movement that continues to this day. Across the country, Republicans are attempting to take control of elections, overturning systems that could stand in the way of a power grab in 2024. Hundreds of anti-democratic laws have been proposed in states and legislatures to achieve this goal. G.O.P. fringe candidates who refuse to believe that the former president legitimately lost are seeking offices where they could assert their will over that of voters in key battlegrounds.

Other states’ leaders have engaged in sham “audits” or “reviews” of the 2020 vote, which will provoke anger and confusion as the country approaches the next election. Sixteen Republican-led states have new voter-suppression laws. In our own State of New York, one of the House members who openly sought to reject Mr. Biden’s election has been the presumptive G.O.P. nominee for governor almost from the day he declared his intention to run.

A very important question that remains is how to pursue the organizers of the events of Jan. 6, 2021. House investigators are looking closely at right-wing figures, such as the conspiracy monger Alex Jones, certain former White House staff, and the former president’s lawyers. They are also scrutinizing how Trump insiders may have coordinated with extremist groups. Another avenue of interest is a memo circulated inside the White House that laid out the false idea that the vice president was the “ultimate arbiter” of the election.

There is still much to learn about how the events of a year ago unfolded and what led up to them, but it is as important, if not more so, to look to the present to understand how many Trump Republicans remain committed to taking power by whatever means necessary. The threat to our democratic institutions is real and it is right now.

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