Blood on Their Hands: How Both Political Parties Are Complicit in Killing American Democracy

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By Quentin Choy

June 15, 2021

On January 6, 2021, I remember being at home in Hawai’i and getting the push notification on my phone simply reading: “A mob of protestors has stormed the U.S. Capitol.” I thought that couldn’t be right, and I quickly went to YouTube and Twitter to see the stunning images and video as well as live coverage from news companies as well as independent media.

I watched coverage from David Pakman, a progressive commentator from Massachusetts on his YouTube channel, seeing his shocked reactions in real-time. On PBS, reporter Lisa Desjardins was in the Capitol building reporting live as mobs of protestors broke down windows and stormed up and down the corridors of Congress. Her panicked reporting brought to life the chaotic scene unfolding, blurring into irrelevance the news that the Democrats won control of the Senate that same day.

The January 6 insurrection at the Capitol was the most brazen example of democracy’s downfall in the United States in modern memory, and the Republican Party under the leadership of Donald Trump was most responsible for the actions on that day. The insurrection was the result of Trump’s denial of election loss and refusal to concede drawn to its logical conclusion.

If you add constant lies that an election was stolen with two Democratic wins in Georgia as well as a protest led by a narcissistic president clinging to power, the January 6 insurrection is a clear, logical result. With Republicans like Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) supporting Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement and agreeing to refuse certification of the election results of Joe Biden’s victory, Donald Trump was not the sole Republican involved.

He had enablers.

Trump has shown anti-democratic tendencies before during his presidency with excessive usage of force on peaceful protestors, calls to send political opponents out of the country, calls to arrest people for burning the U.S. flag as well as his disregard for democratic notions such as freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

He constantly lied about the election being “stolen” from him through ballot harvesting and other methods of election rigging. Those who believed his lies were cult-like using everything they could find to justify that the election indeed had been stolen.

Trump’s stooges, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were deployed to convince Republicans that the election was illegitimate and that Joe Biden had stolen the election.

So, on January 6th, many of Trump’s supporters were not just letting off steam but were actively trying to halt the process of election certification as an act of heroism, truly believing that the election had been stolen.

While the Republicans and Trump really did this in an attempt to salvage Trump’s ego and avoiding acknowledgment of loss, the January 6th insurrection was devastating to U.S. democracy, destroying confidence in elections and in democracy itself.

However, this sort of election loss denial is not endemic to Republicans. The Democrats had done this just four years before although in a less brazen fashion.

After Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump, the world was stunned. Perhaps no one was as stunned as Clinton herself. She probably though to herself: “how could I have lost to Donald Trump of all people?” She couldn’t wrap her head around it. She couldn’t deal with it. She couldn’t cope with it.

The loss was, in her mind, unacknowledgeable.

Clinton and her Democratic Party stooges pushed the narrative that Russia had interfered in U.S. elections because they wanted Donald Trump to win. Trump was Putin’s puppet, a “Manchurian candidate” sent by Russia and Putin himself. When other Democrats like Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) called Clinton’s bluff, they too were deemed to be “Russia’s politicians.”

Soon, the story became more and more complex until it became to most normal people, unfollowable both in terms of detail and in terms of relevance to our lives.

Soon, words like “obstruction of justice,” “dossier,” “special counsel,” became commonplace in Democratic circles. Rachel Maddow covered the story endlessly on MSNBC. Democrats like Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff, and Jerry Nadler became targets of Republicans who classified the investigations into Trump as witch-hunts.

Imagine, a whole story fabricated to save a woman’s ego and self-image.

Finally, the valiant knight in shining armor had finally arrived on his white steed. Robert Mueller, “America’s straightest arrow” was here to deliver Donald Trump to justice and to vindicate Ms. Clinton from her election loss.

After months of investigations that essentially led nowhere, a wilted version of Mueller the knight testified, hard of hearing and forgetful of crucial details.

The Democrats were at a loss for words seeing their savior in such poor shape.

The Democrats’ obsession with “Russian interference” to save Clinton’s ego, and Trump’s obsession with “election fraud” and a “stolen election” are two sides of the same coin. Both political parties have their hands dirty when it comes to killing faith in U.S. democracy just in different ways. The Republicans overtly, and the Democrats more subtly, are both responsible, and neither side is truly clean.

Quentin Choy, creator of <em>WeTheCommoners Blog</em>
Quentin Choy, creator of WeTheCommoners Blog

Quentin is a student of Political Science. He became interested in history and politics in 2015 watching the Republican and Democratic primaries as well as the 2016 General Election.

He is from Hawaii and currently attends school in Colorado.

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