Not good for democracy

Unlike the end of 2020, I’m not looking forward to the New Year. It has been one year since the Jan. 6 coup attempt instigated by Donald Trump. That started months before the election with his bogus and undocumented claims of ballot fraud. 

After the election came all those court challenges, all dismissed for lack of evidence, and his recorded effort to badger an elected official in Georgia to “find” enough votes for Trump to win. Wouldn’t that be solicitation to commit election fraud?

Then House Republicans, with very few exceptions, supported his effort to throw out the certified Electoral College votes that declared Joe Biden the winner. The Jan. 6 coup attempt wasn’t just the rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol.

But as the months have passed, the GOP coup collaborators have been busy trying to rewrite the reality of what happened back then – that it was no big deal. They want us to believe it wasn’t a violent coup attempt with threats to kill Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or defenders who thought they were about to die. It was freedom-loving patriots exercising their First Amendment freedom of speech and their outrage at the theft of the 2020 election, thus helping to perpetuate the Big Lie with new lies. Or the alternative lie, that it was Antifa.

Trump continues to promote his lie that he won by a landslide and the election was stolen from him. In all this time, he has shown zero evidence, although some of his supporters have put out some seriously bizarre conspiracy theories on how it was done. 

The only real documentation is that Trump has a long history as a habitual liar. But a majority of Republicans apparently believe Trump’s election lie. And there’s a good chance the GOP will take back control of Congress this fall. Will that spell the end of democracy as we know it?

The GOP has played a long game since at least 2000 to create single-party rule state by state until they are ready to turn the entire country. They’ve done that with political gerrymandering and various forms of voter suppression. Since Trump’s loss, GOP-controlled legislatures have further suppressed voting, especially targeting urban precincts that tend to vote for Democrats. 

They’ve criminalized innocent minor mistakes by voters. Will those prosecutions vary a-ccording to the hapless voter’s party registration? GOP controlled legislatures have criminalized minor mistakes by those processing ballots, those helping poorly informed voters to register, or those providing food or water to voters standing in long lines (probably after polling places have been consolidated in urban minority precincts).

If all that fails to turn election results to the GOP, Red state legislators are claiming the right to overturn results, including the Electoral College in 2024, that don’t go their way. With that, our democracy is gone.

Anyone who wants to keep our democracy will need to be very engaged this year.

– Carole McWilliams, Bayfield