Charged with disinformation, supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol a year ago. Believing that it was not Joe Biden, but their husband who had won, they tried by force to have their representatives destroyed the election result.
Now, twelve months later, it is clear that this was not a random mess, spontaneously brought about by a speech by Trump. Hearings of the so-called “select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol” show that the attack had been discussed by several protesters weeks earlier. This senior Trump officials have been implicated in its preparation. The committee will publish its findings this year.
What is painfully obvious is that whatever these findings some Americans will not want to believe. For the capture of the Capitol did not unite the United States, as one would expect after a major and shocking national event that touched the heart of democracy.
On the contrary. The lie that Trump had his presidency robbed has taken hold: 71% of Republicans believe Biden was not legally elected. More worryingly, nearly a third of independent voters think so. 74 million Americans voted for Republicans.
It is also worrying that the lie is taking hold of the Republican Party. Conservatives who do not support the Trump line are marginalized. Are treated as dissidents. Realize that they themselves have no chance of being re-elected without a statement of support from the former president. In November, elections for the House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate.
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What is even more concerning is that Republicans are trying legally to influence future election results. Measures have been taken in nineteen states to limit the right to vote: postal voting – according to Trump “dangerous” – is no longer possible, the number of polling stations has been reduced, registration lists have been cleaned up, but voters were not accordingly told they had to register again. This particularly affects those who vote for the Democratic Party given their origin.
In a number of states – Republican – it is regulated that the ruling majority party can determine the results of the elections. This makes the vote meaningless. A Viking helmet and a baseball bat are no longer needed as democracy is eroding.
It’s a shame that a party is ready for it. In a healthy democracy, the loser would have wondered what was wrong, how to convince voters in the next election. In a healthy democracy, the public interest always comes first, and democracy certainly does.
The United States is no longer seen by many as an exemplary country, but the country often follows suit. When the United States sanctioned torture with the opening of Guantanamo Bay, other countries – less democratic – saw an encouragement. Trump’s attacks on the media have also been reproduced. “Fake news” is a term that is even used by Dutch politicians.
Read also : The United States promotes democracy, but is fragile
The developments in the United States should be of concern to everyone. Hopefully the way America promotes democratic values around the world is not permanently damaged.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on January 6, 2022
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of January 6, 2022
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