American democracy is under threat. It isn't controversial to say that, it's become obvious by now.
The truth has been staring us hard in the face since the extremist and violent January 6 insurrection and it does no good to pretend otherwise now.
We're in deep political trouble, the worst of our lives. This pandemic era with its viral horrors is one thing, but the growing threat to the way we live and who will govern us is potentially much further reaching and catastrophic and could be equally life altering soon.
Here's the truth: Donald Trump's failed coup attempt on January 6, 2021, was the worst assault on the Capitol since the British attacked it in 1814. He already knew when he incited a riot that many of his followers were armed yet he instructed them to “fight like hell” to prevent Vice President Mike Pence from certifying the election that Joe Biden won.
Fight they did. People were attacked and killed. The oath that Trump took to protect the nation and our constitution went up in smoke.
Instead of calming the conflict, he sat his ample old 76-year-old posterior in the White House dining room, watching the carnage ensue on a Fox News live broadcast, having the power to stop it but quite unwilling to stop it.
The January 6 Committee hearings have shown us how his aides pleaded with him to call off the violent attack, how senators called to ask him to stop it, how his own family members tried in vain to get him to listen.
Many of President Trump’s White House staff, including his daughter Ivanka, also recognized that the evidence did not support the claims President Trump was making. pic.twitter.com/wpHOsVQktu— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 10, 2022
But he didn't stop it because he knew this was his last chance to take by force what he had lost at the ballot box. He put himself before the will of the people, he put himself before the fate of his party, he put himself before the consequences even for his own family.
Still, he lost. By the end of the day, he sadly told a passing White House custodian that Mike Pence “let him down.” He didn't understand or care that he had let the nation and the constitution and his oath of office down. He had no thought for any of that, his only sympathy was for himself.
A word now about the decisive 2020 election that Trump still pathetically lies about even now. Biden received more than 81 million votes in that election, by far the most of any presidential candidate in American history. But thanks to our anachronistic Electoral College system, that still translated to tighter margins, and that rather ominous divide is still growing.
Nevertheless, Biden won the popular vote by over 7 million votes, although there were still eight states where his margin was within about 3.5 points. What this means is that with a swing of a few thousand votes in a few states we could easily have been looking at a second term for Trump because the divide between the popular and the institutional winner is growing more problematic and dangerous.
But that's just the start of it. Trump's coup failed, his attempts to subvert the election were unsuccessful, but the mechanics of it - from blocking certification to sending alternate slates of fake electors to Congress - are all still in place and frankly, the GOP will be better prepared next time.
Worse, there have been no consequences for what Trump and his acolytes did. Republican voters did not balk at his openly illegal attempts to overthrow the will of the people.
Republican Congressional members didn't immediately call for a Watergate-style investigation, they simply defied the requests for one. That tells us something terrifying about the impending fate of this ailing democracy.
"At least 33 states are now considering two 229 bills that will give their state legislatures the power to politicize, criminalize, and even openly tamper with national election results," The States United Democracy Center reported in May.
Trump-endorsed 'America First' candidates are bidding for secretary of state positions in 17 states this November, which if they win, will give them unbridled control over the election administration in sizable portions of this country.
Giving such unprincipled anti-democratic people control of our election administration seems nightmarish but it's already happening. So make your plans.