|Josh Silver, Founder|
January 6, 2020
An unprecedented crisis unfolded at the U.S. Capitol today. Demonstrators overwhelmed Capitol police after President Trump encouraged them to go to the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 election result. And they succeeded. Violent protestors breached the Senate chambers. People escorted members of Congress and the press out to safety while a mob, thousands-strong, congregated just outside the building, well within the security perimeter.
America watched for hours as violent insurrectionists desecrated our nation's Capitol. Thankfully, their ultimate goal failed. Once safe, lawmakers returned to the floor and officially certified the results of the November election.
This attempt to overturn a free and fair election is unconscionable.
As Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor today, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept the election again.”
This was a full frontal attack on our democracy built on falsehoods and disinformation. It’s been called sedition, treason, domestic terrorism, but we must call this what it is: a coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol — a building and institution that is yours and mine — called for and encouraged by the U.S. president.
The blame begins at the feet of President Trump, and his willingness to shred the Constitution and rule of law in order to keep power; but it does not end there. This madness is what happens when a political system ceases to function because we have ignored its flaws for too long.
It’s what happens when deeply flawed election and campaign finance laws fuel polarization, extremism and corruption. It’s what happens when we rely on “norms” instead of clear laws to check presidential power. It’s what happens when digital misinformation is not sufficiently addressed. It’s what happens when democracy reaches a state of deep crisis.
While the nation picks up the pieces from these stunning and terrifying events, I ask you: Please resist the urge to simply hope that things will improve when this President is out of the White House.
These problems will only be fixed — democracy will only be restored — by fixing the system itself. By changing how our politicians are elected; how they finance their campaigns; how they are held to account once in office… and how we ensure Americans have access to facts, not lies and political propaganda that fuel today’s events.
Our work has never been more important.