The unresolved signs of American democracy a year ago left few clues in the U.S. Capitol.
Broken windows were replaced, blood stains on the marble floor were wiped off, and tear gas residues from historical artworks were removed.
Anyone walking around the building can see that the country has quickly recovered from the January 6, 2021 attack. Thousands of Donald Trump supporters tried to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. But it was unsuccessful.
But the lies that fuel the riots are still deeply rooted in American politics.
Instead of laying the foundation for national unity, January 6 became a launch pad for false information and NSW laws to restrict access to the ballot box.
Today, most Republican voters believe that the last election was stolen, and many politicians in the party either believed the same lie or were afraid to refute it.
A reminder appeared in Minnesota last month when there were five Republican candidates for governor Was asked in the debate Whether President Biden won the last election. None of them would say yes.
The violence that took place on January 6 last year may seem spontaneous, but then President Trump spent several months telling his supporters about the election lies. He warned during the campaign that there would be large-scale voter fraud, even if millions of votes have not yet been counted, he will prematurely announce his victory on election night.
A few days later, when Biden was declared the winner, Trump begins to file a lawsuit All over the country. Although the judges quickly dismissed Trump’s baseless claims, his efforts to overturn the results of the election did not end-it has been evolving.
These propositions have become more divorced from reality, and the methods have become more radical.
Trump relies on the Department of Justice to intervene and prevent election certification.
His allies are pushing for investigations into unfounded conspiracy theories involving military satellites, tampering with voting machines, and foreign interference in Venezuela and China.
Trump called an election official in Georgia and asked him to dig out enough votes—”I just want to find 11,780 votes,” he said in their taped conversation—enough to overthrow Biden’s presence in the country. State victory.
“There is a small cabal trying to turn this kind of democracy into despotism,” Rep. James E. Clayburn (DS.C.) told reporters last month.
At this time, Trump has set his sights on January 6, the date when Congress solemnly confirmed the election results. Overseeing this process is the responsibility of Vice President Mike Pence, and Trump believes that Pence can stop its baseless theory.
When Pence refused, Trump was very angry. On a cold and cloudy Wednesday in Washington, January 6, he talked to supporters who gathered for a rally in front of the White House and Washington Monument. He told them, “If you don’t fight desperately, you will no longer own a country,” and then said, “We are going to the Capitol.”
What happened next – large numbers of mobs rushing in and crossing police lines, bloody scuffles, five deaths – even those who have been following Trump closely for the past four years and trying to hold him accountable are shocked .
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and chief House manager of Trump’s first impeachment trial, said: “We anticipated almost everything that could go wrong, except for what actually happened. ”
What happened in the Capitol is almost a mystery. The terrorist incident was broadcast live on national television, and many insurgents posted their achievements on social media.
According to reports, even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters are shocked by the chaos Recently posted SMS A special House committee investigating the attack is in charge.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said in a text message to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows: “Things have gone too far and are out of control.”
“The president needs to tell the people in the Capitol to go home,” Fox News host and one of Trump’s staunchest media allies Laura Ingraham texted Meadows. “It hurts all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
After the building was cleaned up, Ingraham condemned the “Capitol antics today” in her primetime show, but insisted that “over 99%” of Trump supporters were peaceful. She also said that “anti-law sympathizers may have been scattered everywhere” in the crowd,” and this accusation did not show any evidence.
The shift from anger to vagueness or denial was characteristic of the Republican Party’s response to January 6. The party lawmakers who voted for Trump’s subsequent impeachment now face major challenges. One of the former president’s most outspoken Republican critics, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, was forced to leave her in the leadership of the nuclear team. s position.
“The Republican Party must make a choice,” Cheney wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “We can be loyal to our Constitution, or we can be loyal to Donald Trump, but we cannot do both.”
Even Trump’s vice president-his name echoed in the Capitol, and the mob chanted: “Hang Mike Pence!”- A way to deal with the events of the day has been found.
“I know that the media hopes to distract attention from the failed agenda of the Biden administration by focusing on a certain day in January,” he told Fox News in October. “They want to use that day to try to demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans”-referring to Trump’s total vote, which is 7 million less than Biden-“They believe we can be strong and prosperous again.”
Despite being banned from Twitter and Facebook, Trump still has influence among Republicans. Some politicians who once condemned violence refused to confront him or his efforts to undermine democracy. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) falsely claimed in May, “I don’t think anyone questioned the legitimacy of the presidential election.”
Trump never stopped. He described the election as a “real rebellion” and described January 6 as a “day of protest against false election results.” He talked about Ashli Babbitt (Ashli
“Please know that her memory will always live in our hearts,” he said in a video message recorded to commemorate Babbitt’s October event.
Trump originally planned to hold a press conference on Thursday at his Florida resort, Sea Lake Estate, to commemorate the anniversary of the attack. But on Tuesday he canceled the event, saying that the media “will not report the facts.” He plans to continue holding rallies to repeat the same lie that led to the January 6th attack, and the next one is scheduled for January 15th in Arizona.
The former president’s lies are still a core part of his plan to rule the Republican Party. Experts say this is a disinformation campaign that may fuel future attacks, especially when people worry about whites losing power in a diverse country.
“I don’t think we got out of the predicament at all,” said Javid Ali, the former senior director of counter-terrorism at the National Security Council. “And I think this threat will continue for years, even decades.”
Trump used his support for his lies as a touchstone for Republican candidates, and he wavered in front of those who doubted the validity of the 2020 election.
In Arizona, he supported Kari Lake, a former television broadcaster running for governor, who falsely claimed Trump had won the state. In Georgia, he pushed former U.S. Senator David Perdue to compete with Governor Brian Camp in the Republican primary, who refused to prevent Biden from winning proof there.
Opinion polls show that most Republican voters think Biden’s victory is fraudulent. These beliefs have prompted state legislators to accelerate the long-term campaign to restrict voting options and change the way elections are managed.
For example, the state of Georgia has made it more difficult to apply for ballots by mail and prohibits election officials from sending unsolicited ballot applications to voters. No one is allowed to provide food or water to people in line to vote.
In addition, the Republican-controlled legislature appointed a new chairman of the Georgia State Election Commission, which has the power to suspend county election officials due to suspected malfeasance or mismanagement.
Similar efforts to change voting rules have stalled in other battlefield states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Democratic governors vetoed legislation passed by Republican lawmakers. But these governors will hold elections this year, opening up a potential way for the proposal to advance.
“This is a five-level alert,” said Richard L. Hasen, an election expert at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. “People are exhausted between Trump and COVID. I think people don’t care anymore. And I think it’s very dangerous.”
When Biden Opening outside the Capitol Two weeks after the riots, he walked into a door with cracked glass panels. This shows that the transfer of power is different from every time since the civil war, and it is not peaceful.
But the windows were quickly repaired, just like everything else in the building.
The damaged material has been boxed and handed over to the Department of Justice to be used as evidence for the continued federal prosecution of the rioters. (More than 700 people have been arrested on federal charges related to the rebellion.)
The Capitol Architects responsible for the maintenance of the building plans to later recover the wreckage as cultural relics. In the end, they can serve as public proof of the resilience of American democracy—or how it collapsed.