Will January 6th be the new norm? More pointedly, will efforts to overturn the results of close elections become an ordinary feature of American politics? In close elections, will state legislatures refuse to certify elections results if a candidate from the other party won? Will the House and Senate refuse to acknowledge the counting of electoral votes if the candidate of the other party won?
Such questions go to the heart of American democracy.
Liz Cheney is right that we should have a January 6th commission to fully understand the events the culminated in the attack on the Capitol. As she writes in the Washington Post, “we must support a parallel bipartisan review by a commission with subpoena power to seek and find facts; it will describe for all Americans what happened. This is critical to defeat the misinformation and nonsense circulating in the press and on social media. No currently serving member of Congress — with an eye to the upcoming election cycle — should participate. We should appoint former officials, members of the judiciary and other prominent Americans who can be objective, just as we did after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The commission should be focused on the Jan. 6 attacks.”
It is stunning how quickly Republicans have moved to rewrite history, downplaying a violent attack on the Congress to disrupt a constitutional process that recognized Joe Biden as the duly elected president. Shockingly, Democrats have downplayed January 6th as well. But the country should not move on from January 6th. We need to come to terms with it, and how the Big Lie continues to shape our politics.