Mark Davis, Best advice for this anniversary of the events of last January 6: Turn off the TV.
Today will be a festival of drama-queen hand-wringing, the latest attempt to make Americans believe that democracy itself was on the brink of collapse, and remains threatened by voters poised to launch waves of insurrection and assaults on basic voting rights.
That fabrication has fueled a year of rhetorical excess and malicious maneuvering designed to do two things—destroy the political viability of Donald Trump, and savage the motivations of every voter who ever supported him.
Emotions following the 2020 elections ran so high, and the passions surrounding the questionable result were so hot that a firestorm of controversy was unavoidable. But shouldn’t the election itself, and the January 6 uprising that followed, settle into some gradually drying historical concrete by now?
That has been slow in coming, due to the agendas of a media and political culture seeking to silence any doubt as to the result, while taking the extra step of assigning criminal guilt to Trump for directly causing the Capitol incursion on a day meant to protest the acceptance of a voting tally that had been tainted in several states.
In reply, some corners of conservatism sought to downplay the breaching of the Capitol as if it were some guided tour gone slightly wrong– an event that was not a particularly big deal, especially compared to the wanton rioting that had broken out in various cities in preceding months, with no shrieks of alarm from Democrats or their media stenographers.
The double standard is easy to find, but nonchalance was never the smartest reply to January 6. History requires acknowledging that the protesters who chose to break the law that day did a terrible thing, hurt the cause they sought to help, and sullied the effort to argue the flaws of the November result.
Look at the artillery that was handed to Democrats desperately needing to cement the Biden victory as the cleanest, most indisputable ever. Anyone seeking to cogently describe an election count poisoned by unconstitutional changes to various state laws was instantly portrayed as an insurgent at a Capitol window holding a brick. This has been the strategy since Day One—drown every thoughtful, valid element of skepticism about the election in the stigma of January 6 misbehaviors.
History must not allow this. Multiple things can be true at the same time. Here is a series of true things:
COVID opportunism led various states to change 2020 election laws on the fly, meaning many votes were counted that should not have been.
We will never know how many votes that was. No magic figure was ever going to arise enabling proof that Trump won a particular state. But that does not mean the doubts lack foundation; they are backed by fact and principle, and have inspired election security upgrades in various states.
Those upgrades have drawn panicked condemnation from the left, which slanders such attempts as attacks on the very right to vote, which is not at risk in any fashion.
The forces sworn to protect the 2020 result from even the slightest disparagement have spouted often about the failure to find “widespread fraud.” Fraud is not really the issue; the deciding votes were counted according to the procedures that existed on November 3. The problem is that those very procedures had been spoiled in improper non-legislative ways, which was an act of violence to the rule of law.
Fraudulent or not, there was no need for improper vote tallies to be “widespread.” A shift of relatively few votes in relatively few states would have yielded a different result.
That fact led millions of Americans to chafe at the notion that the 2020 electoral count should proceed as if nothing went wrong. Thousands with that opinion gathered in Washington on January 6 to protest. President Trump spoke to them, giving voice to shared frustrations, but saying nothing that can be remotely identified as an incitement to violence.
Nonetheless, some who marched to the Capitol made the choice to commit crimes, destroying the underpinning of what could have been a meaningful, impactful day displaying righteous indignation at the contaminated 2020 result.
There was never any hope of legally preventing the electoral count that day. Vice President Mike Pence had zero authority to simply wave off the count in any state.
The Supreme Court had the opportunity to examine constitutional objections brought by Texas and eighteen agreeing states. The justices gutlessly punted.
The January 6th committee is a stain on the history of Congress, a cheap, malevolent stunt designed to beat back Trump, any candidate like him, and millions of voters seeking his style of unapologetic conservatism.
The barriers erected around the Capitol after January 6 were wholly unnecessary, an act of political theater designed to fool America into thinking the halls of democracy needed daily protection from the next wave of riotous Trump supporters.
Valid questions persist about Capitol security and why the throng was able to reach the innermost spaces of the building. But much of this is 20/20 hindsight. On the morning of January 6, as protests gathered and Trump spoke, there was no palpable sense of alarm that things were about to go horribly wrong.
Trump should have spoken out against the excesses of the mob earlier in the day. But the notion that this would have screeched the most amped-up protesters to a halt in their tracks is hard to imagine.
And finally, a matter of language regarding the so-called “Big Lie.” The deployment of that term against Trump and anyone who doubts the 2020 result is a masterful psychological operation designed to smear anyone who dares to address the concerns still properly harbored by millions.
So on this January 6, let history record that the doubts are real, and not unwarranted; that the states working to improve voting security are protecting, not offending our right to reliable elections; and that the purpose of Democrat and media fulminations about the events of a year ago are not based on any civic desire to reach understanding or progress. They are an act of desperation, a roadblock seeking to smother the conservative energies of this election year, where public revulsion toward Joe Biden’s policies and media corruption could spell a wave election for the ages.