June 14, 2022
Trump concocted his big “stolen election” lie because his sick psyche couldn’t face losing — and to help him overthrow democracy and retain office by coup.
Any sensible person already knew that, but the January 6 Congressional committee’s hearings, says The Economist, are the most important in U.S. history. The scandal bigger than any before. And the hearings are filling in compelling details. Trump’s own hitherto toady Attorney General Barr testified that he told Trump his vote fraud claims were “complete nonsense . . . idiotic . . . silly . . . crazy stuff . . . bullshit.”* Yet the evidence shows how Trump nevertheless worked a host of illegitimate schemes to undo his election loss, conniving at the Capitol violence as his last-ditch ploy. Gleefully watching it unfold, refusing to act to stop it, even endorsing the insurrectionists’ cry, “Hang Mike Pence!” Failing only by a hairsbreadth.
Who could ever have imagined so criminal a U.S. president? So why hasn’t he been indicted? The Department of Justice seems to be proceeding very carefully, striving to avoid any appearance of a partisan witch-hunt (though Republicans will scream that anyway). Even in normal circumstances the DOJ wants to be pretty sure an indictment will result in conviction. These are far from normal circumstances. The last thing we need is Trump indicted and then acquitted. Plus, even a conviction would provoke endless appeals, and the politically tainted Supreme Court majority might find some pretext to exonerate Trump. Maybe better to leave the case to the court of public opinion. Despite its questionable wisdom.
For a moment after January 6, it seemed GOP officialdom was washing its hands of Trump for what he’d wrought. But they quickly turned tail upon realizing the cult of Trump voters was unshaken. So Republicans refused to support a congressional investigation, they denounce it as a partisan sham, and even obstruct its work by defying subpoenas. The committee’s two Republican members, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are lonely heroes, being purged from a party now making itself totally complicit in the attempt to overthrow American democracy.
You’d think this would destroy its credibility and bona fides forever among most voters. How could any serious civic-minded person, believing in America’s founding democratic values and ideals, continue to support such a party?
I’d long warned that our democracy was not ordained by God forever, and could not endure without a citizenry steeped in those values. Now we’re seeing what little presence those values still have in our political landscape. A president’s attempt to overthrow democracy is shrugged off. Candidates embracing him and his big lie suffer no electoral penalty. We’re told voters care more about issues like inflation, crime, gas prices. And that Democrats will fail if they stress January 6 in their midterm election campaign.
It’s tempting to say, I give up. Like I’m howling at the moon.
Meantime, columnist David Brooks has a different take on the congressional hearings. Again, all honest people already know the truth about January 6 and Trump’s ghastly malfeasance. But what really needs investigation and exposure — ringing a five alarm fire bell — is the ongoing Republican effort to make sure they “win” future elections — regardless of votes. All under the dishonest guise of “protecting election integrity” while actually blowing it up.
This will culminate in January 2025 with a GOP-controlled Congress making Trump president, setting aside if necessary the actual election results.
Voting Republican now is insane.
* Barr also denounced as rubbish the feature film Two Thousand Mules, pushing false vote fraud claims and garnering huge audiences in Trump country.