Last gasp of democracy?

Published 9:30 am Thursday, January 14, 2021

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By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive

Paul Ryan, the Republican former Speaker of the House, said that “Self-governance cannot sustain itself if the whims of Congress replace the will of the people.” Trump’s disgraceful legacy can be summed up in very few words. He was the President who attempted to kill democracy. And he came very close.

Trump got his way, fomenting a rebellion in our Capital. Trump encouraged violent rioters, many armed, to storm our capital to unconstitutionally keep him in power. He also succeeded in showing the world that we have a very flawed democracy. We must never forget how Trump and his many GOP enablers, including Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, as well as many of our Georgia Senators and Congressmen, subverted our electoral process, democratic traditions and the will of the American people.

Let’s quickly summarize Trump’s recent actions:

4Trump encouraged people to go into the streets to commit treason to stop Congress from fulfilling its Constitutional duty to certify Biden as our next President.

4Trump asked Mike Pence to throw out the electoral votes of states which had voted for Biden, unilaterally deciding who would be the next President, regardless of the Electoral College.

4He called the Georgia Secretary of State, Raffensperger, to demand he “find 11,780 votes,” enough to throw Georgia to Trump. He repeatedly threatened him if he did not.

4Trump encouraged supporters in the House and Senate to override the will of voters and refuse to certify election results. He succeeded in getting a large number of Georgia Congressmen to embrace this unwelcome excursion into authoritarian fascism.

4Trump implied to senior officials he might use the military to overturn the election. Disgraced former General Michael Flynn brought declaring martial law to force rerunning elections in swing states that Trump lost. All 10 former Defense Secretaries, Republicans and Democrats, have come out firmly against it in a joint declaration in the Washington Post, stating use of the military would bring us into “dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.”

4Trump openly stated he wanted Amy Coney Barrett to be approved by the Senate before the election so she could help swing the election for him if it came to SCOTUS.

The positive side of this abysmal situation is that certain of our democratic institutions held firm. Regardless of the political affiliation of judges, the federal and state courts threw out dozens of spurious suits brought by Trumpers. Honorable state-level conservative Republican officials, like Gov. Kemp and Raffensperger in Georgia, were able to withstand threats and intimidation. They chose honor and democracy, even at their political peril. Our military stayed loyal to the Constitution versus one man. And the mob rebellion against our democracy and Constitution was put eventually put down, although it was obvious the Capital Police management treated the white insurgents with kid gloves, permitting them to disrupt Congress.

However, there has still been lasting damage to our nation. An astounding number of our elected officials would not certify the results of a fair and honest election, even after Trump inspired rioters halted the initial vote. Those actions come close to sedition. Georgia voters should remember these traitors to democracy and vote them out of office. However, due to Trump’s brainwashing of his followers, an amazing 77% of Republicans still wrongly believe that the election was fraudulent, per Quinnipiac polling. Even with the loses of court cases and the complete lack of proof, they still doubt the legitimacy of Biden. And we had a President who did not believe in the Constitution spurring on the brainwashed armed mob.

How this unfortunate state of affairs translates into future politics is uncertain. But one thing is for certain, the lasting effects of Donald Trump’s authoritarian reign will be very negative for our beloved nation.