If people avidly follow the news, they probably pick up a lot of bits about trivial events. But did they also hear former President Trump admit that he had intended to have Mike Pence overturn the 2020 election?
In a statement, Trump asserted that Pence had the power to “change the outcome” and should indeed have “overturned the election.”
Did they hear that the Trump administration actually drafted orders for federal law enforcement to seize voting machines before his loss could be certified?
It is true — Trump personally called Rudy Giuliani to see if the Departments of Justice or Homeland Security could seize the machines before votes could be counted in key swing states. A draft of an executive order to do just that was published in full by Politico. It bears Trump’s name.
Or what about, after years of frothing over Hillary Clinton’s emails, did they hear that Trump himself illegally removed or destroyed thousands of official documents?
That is right — Trump personally took at least 15 boxes worth of material with him to Mar-a-Lago, while at least three of his former staffers said Trump ripped documents apart right in front of them. National Archivists have recovered as many as they can, but they literally have to tape the destroyed documents back together.
And, did they hear anywhere that one of America’s two major political parties just endorsed the January 6 coup attempt? That is true, too.
People may remember January 6 for the rioters who smashed public property, viciously assaulted police officers, built a gallows outside the Capitol, and chanted for the execution of elected officials. At least seven people died in connection with the attack, while hundreds of rioters now face federal charges.
But in a recent statement, the Republican National Committee called these despicable acts “legitimate political discourse” and officially condemned Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), the two lone House Republicans helping to investigate the attack.
For good measure, Trump also personally promised to pardon January 6 rioters if he was reelected, something two-thirds of Americans say they oppose.
Every single one of those stories broke in late January or early February this year. All were diligently reported by committed journalists. Yet in the broader media, not one of them — much less the bigger story they tell together — has enjoyed anything like the shelf life of another culture war story about Neil Young’s fight with Spotify over an irresponsible podcaster.
So it is sadly unsurprising that majorities of Republicans report believing the ridiculous lie that the 2020 election was stolen, something not even GOP-led investigations have found a shred of evidence for. And an alarming 40 percent of Republicans now say violence against the government is justified.
It is extremely dangerous that the GOP now officially sanctions a violent coup attempt, a likely GOP contender in 2024 is openly committed to overturning elections and destroying the evidence, and a disturbing minority of the party’s faithful seem ready to endorse violence to do that.
Meanwhile even Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence, who spoke out against the RNC’s recent action, have shown themselves to be perfectly comfortable with the voter suppression laws the party is propagating all over the country in service of the very same lies.
We live in interesting times — there is always news to cover. But these threats to our democracy need to stay top of mind all year, and every politician needs to be repeatedly asked about them. Voters deserve to know about this crisis and where their leaders stand on it.
In a free-market economy where ratings drives content, it is the public’s responsibility to tell their favorite news outlets that they value democracy. And in order to protect that freedom and foundation of our nation, the new stories that expose how corrupt interests are trying to destroy it should remain parked in the headlines.