lind3_OLIVIER DOULIERYAFP via Getty Images)_capitol damage OLIVIER DOULIERYAFP via Getty Images

The Real Threat to American Democracy

By fixating on the January 6 Capitol Hill riot and Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, political and media elites can conveniently ignore the deeper problems afflicting American democracy. Yet only by identifying the system’s true vulnerabilities can it be preserved.

AUSTIN – Much remains to be learned about what happened in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. But almost from the moment that rioters stormed the Capitol, it has been clear that America’s constitutional order resisted Donald Trump’s effort to subvert it.

The available evidence suggests that Trump supported a cockamamie scheme to have Vice President Mike Pence refuse to certify the results showing that Joe Biden had won the Electoral College vote. The idea was that amid the confusion created by unauthorized self-appointed state electors, congressional Republicans would award Trump a second term.

But the scheme was doomed to fail, because key Republicans refused to play along. Pence eschewed his assigned role in the scheme, as did Attorney General William Barr and other high-ranking executive branch officials. Republican state officials in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as well as federal judges – including some appointed by Trump – also stood their ground.

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