The hearings of the House Committee investigating the events that led to the insurrection of January 6, 2021, have highlighted the efforts of Donald Trump to overturn the victory of Joe Biden and how the big lie of a “stolen election” continues to poison the United States’ political life. Examining these events is useful not only to apportion blame to those responsible and to strengthen democratic institutions, but also allows us in other countries to see the magnitude of the threat posed by Trumpism.
American democracy withstood Trump’s attack and the country won an opportunity to return to normalcy. However, the hearings, which include protagonists of Trump’s attempted putsch, show that the effort was far more serious and organized than it first appeared. And it is clear that the threat has not faded, because of Trump’s influence over the Republican Party. A Quinnipiac University poll published on Wednesday found that six in 10 Americans believe that Trump bears a lot or some responsibility for the events of January 6, whereas among Republicans, seven out of 10 believe he bears “not much” or no responsibility at all. In light of the midterm elections in November, this shows the danger of more Trump followers being elected to Congress. Trump, too, might return to the presidency in 2024.
The five committee hearings (up to Thursday) revealed that even though senior members of his government, as well as members of his family, did not buy his claims of a stolen election, Trump was able to get a few fanatical aides to stoke the mob’s wrath, to inspire a wave of threats against officials involved in the electoral process, from members of local election committees to his own vice president.
Trump and his followers are persisting with this tactic, whether they be members of Congress or citizens who see the world as they want to see it and who threaten anyone whom they consider an obstacle to the former president’s plans.
As we are entering a pre-election period in a world full of danger, let us (both political parties and citizens) consider our responsibility when we exchange insults and hyperbole. This recklessness may serve petty party interests. But division is a plague on the nation.