History will have the final word on the work of the Select Committee to investigate the attack of January 6th on the U.S. Capitol. But the first draft of history, based on the public hearings of the committee held since June, is a remarkable indictment.
The committee demonstrated through overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans planned, promoted, and paid for a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transition of power that could have denied Joe Biden the presidential term the American people elected him to.
That most visible component of that conspiracy was the violent attack on the Capitol, but it may not have been the most pernicious. Like velociraptors testing the fences in a Jurassic Park movie, Trump and his allies tested legislative and judicial guardrails in their quest to hold on to power.
Now, just ahead of the first national elections since that fateful attack, it’s clear the insurrectionists are willing to continue undermining confidence in democracy itself, and our elections specifically, if they can continue to avoid accountability.
We’ve seen it here in Wisconsin. From the Vos-Gabelman fiasco to MAGA Republicans peddling disinformation about the 2020 election and even promises to demolish the very system of election administration Wisconsin Republican’s itself established. (the one they promised would make it ‘easy to vote and hard to cheat’ and which managed to conduct free, fair, safe, and secure elections even amidst a pandemic in 2020)
That’s the system they are threatening. Not because they don’t like the system. But because they don’t like the outcome of recent elections. Wisconsin’s MAGA Republican legislators have pushed dozens of bills to politicize, criminalize, and interfere with elections – 38 at last count.
And they aren’t just trying to use the legislature. They’ve pushed the State Supreme Court to ban ballot drop boxes in violation of the Voting Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. They’re also causing election officials to leave their posts in droves. (Who can blame them? Assembly lawmakers threatened to jail the chairwoman of the state Elections Commission for doing her job, along with mayors and other elected officials)
The 2020 election is over. Trump and the MAGA Republicans making a mockery of our election administration in Wisconsin may not like the way that one turned out, but they are bound by law to accept. And they should be bound by reverence for self-determination to respect it.
Sadly, with very little accountability to date for the bad actors, and bad actions, that have so thoroughly undermined the American experiment in self-government, it may well fall to voters to seek that accountability with their votes this year.
In a way, maybe that’s for the best. ‘The will of the people is the law of the land’ is engraved on the ceiling of the Wisconsin Governor’s conference room. That notion is central to who we are and to the idea of democracy. So to hell with the institutions that have failed – so far – to ensure accountability for the MAGA assault on our democracy.
If it’s up to “we, the people,” that’s just fine, every eligible voter in Wisconsin has an opportunity to vote very, very soon.
Voting in Wisconsin is very easy, and even if you are not registered, you can still vote in this year’s elections by registering at your local polling station. For more information visit www.myvote.wi.gov or www.iwillvote.com.