For the Love of Democracy: The Long Shadows of Watergate and January 6
Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team
‘Way back in 1973, an 18.5-minute gap in the White House taping system was the smoking gun that caused Richard Nixon to resign in disgrace. The coverup of the botched Watergate burglary shocked members of both major parties and the American public, leading to electoral reform and a rebalancing of power in Washington.
Now the January 6 Committee has discovered a 7.5-hour gap in White House phone logs for January 6, 2021, coinciding with the onset of the insurrection and stretching past restoration of order. The wife of the longest-serving Justice on the current Supreme Court exchanged 29 text messageswith then-President Trump’s Chief of Staff between early November 2020 and mid-January 2021, urging him to fight the election results and not to “cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed.” Mrs. Thomas has also publicly revealed that she attended the pro-Trump rally preceding the storming of the Capitol.
Fourteen months after the January 6 insurrection, the Department of Justice has arrested nearly 800 people with charges ranging from obstruction of an official proceeding to assault. About one-tenth of those cases have resulted in criminal sentences so far, although low-level offenses have produced fines, community service, and probation. One suspect, charged with assaulting a police officer and engaging in physical violence on Capitol grounds, fled to Belarus, where he has been granted asylum.
Initial bipartisan outrage at this egregious attempt to overthrow our government and prevent the peaceful transition of power has receded, as many elected Republicans regroup, pretend that violent insurrectionists were just rowdy tourists, and embrace Trump’s specious claims of a stolen election. Republican-led states are using these false claims to pursue even more restrictive voter suppression laws in the name of so-called election integrity.
As the 2022 midterm elections approach, the Republican Party is determined to do whatever it takes to regain and extend their power over our democratic system of government. Progressive Democrats of America is fighting these assaults on our democracy on many levels.
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