The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

House panel investigating Jan. 6 gets serious — and Trump is fuming

The epic battle between dangerous demagogues and defenders of democracy has started in earnest again. The bipartisan select committee of the House of Representatives investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection resumed work this week. 

Former President Trump seems furious as the committee gets serious. He’s more than a sore loser — he’s a danger to democracy. 

The incendiary former president added fuel to the fire when he addressed a rally last week in Texas and told the audience that he might pardon the right-wing extremists who plundered and pillaged the Capitol if he wins the White House in 2024. 

The promise of potential get a free get out of jail card via presidential pardons raises the possibility that those involved won’t cooperate with federal prosecutors or House investigators now.

He incited the angry crowd with a speech near the White House before the riot and now he wants to pardon the Proud Boys, QAnon supporters and the other anti-democratic terrorists who followed his lead, invaded the sacred temple of the people, and sent a chilling message to the world about the survival of our democratic form of government.

Last week, the New York Times reported that in the aftermath of the 2020 election, Trump instructed his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to ask the Department of Homeland Security whether it could seize voting machines in three swing presidential states which candidate Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Trump teed up the football again for the committee on Sunday when he indicated his complicity in undermining the will of the voting public. Trump stated that his Vice President Mike Pence “could have overturned the election” and undermined the votes of the 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden.

Then on Tuesday, the defeated president urged the House select panel to investigate Pence’s failure to stop the electoral vote count and encourage the insurrection. Only Trump would call for action against a public official for upholding the Constitution and following the law.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the select committee replied on Twitter, “It’s time for every Republican to pick a side…Trump or the Constitution, there is no middle on defending the nation anymore.” 

The frenzied and violent attack against the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was just one episode in a series of extremist assaults on American democracy. In the year since the deadly attack, Republicans have continued their battle against our democratic form of government.

Dozens of federal and state courts rejected Trump’s empty claims of voter fraud. But the party’s failure to document or prove voter fraud hasn’t stopped Republicans from devaluing the democratic process. 

It seems the Republican plan for “democracy” is equal parts of violence, intimidation and suppression.

Just two weeks ago, all 50 Republican members of the United Senate voted to block the passage of a Democratic initiative to protect voting rights. However, Republicans in Washington D.C. aren’t the only villains in this life and death drama about the survival of democracy in America. GOP governors and state legislators are doing their part in the sordid attempt to undermine the power of the vote. Nineteen states have restricted the right to vote since the 2020 election. These efforts to suppress voting rights include restrictions on early voting, removal of ballot drop boxes and stricter ID requirements.

Republicans in some states have gone even further with restrictions on the power of the people to make laws themselves after they had the utter audacity to march to the polls and vote to expand Medicaid and legalize marijuana. 

Republicans are unhappy because people voted in record numbers in 2020. The massive turnout was a crystal-clear sign of a remarkably vibrant democracy, which every American should celebrate. While most Americans were pleased at the high level of voter participation, Republicans were pissed. The surge in turnout caused the GOP to lose the White House and the Senate.  

The GOP has good reason to worry about its future. The party has lost the popular vote in the last four presidential elections. The demographic tide of African, Hispanic and Asian American voters rises while the GOP is weighed down under the ballast of a demagogic leader who trades in dog-whistle racism. The members of the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers who support Trump are giving way at the polls to Millennial and GenX voters who vote Democratic.  

But democracy be dammed! The new GOP mantra seems: If you can’t beat them at the polls, cheat them out of their votes.  

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. His podcast, “Deadline D.C. with Brad Bannon,” airs on Periscope TV and the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter: @BradBannon

Tags 2020 election Adam Kinzinger Brad Bannon campaign Capitol attack Democracy Donald Trump Jan. 6 Insurrection Joe Biden Mike Pence Rudy Giuliani voting rights

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

People – Image widget – Person – Main Area Top

File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

QAT WC-2613

People – Image – Person

In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

People - Video Bin - Person

The White House is pushing 'Bidenomics,' but what does it mean?

The White House is pushing 'Bidenomics,' but what ...
DC Bureau: AI Legal Immunity (raquel)
KXAN: special session
DC Bureau: Biden economic display (basil)
KTXL: ca budget folo
WHTM: good gov bills
More Videos

Main area middle

See all Hill.TV See all Video

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

People – Custom HTML – Person

MAIN AREA BOTTOM

People - Article Bin - 7 Headline List with Featured Image - Person

Main area bottom

Top Stories

See All

Most Popular

Load more