Americans watched in horror as an angry mob stormed our Capitol in January. On Tuesday, the Senate released a bipartisan report outlining the security flaws that allowed the breach and a list of recommendations to protect the building from another attack.
Sixteen Republican state lawmakers who were in Washington on Jan.6 still hold public office and continue to pass democracy bills they attacked.
The report, while important, does not sufficiently address a key aspect of the riot: the dangerous undercurrent of conspiracy theorists serving in our country’s state legislatures. At least 20 Republican state lawmakers were at or near the January 6 riot, and many others spread the type of lies the angry mob would later use as justification for their cause.
Sixteen Republican state lawmakers who were in Washington on January 6 still hold public office and continue to pass democracy bills they attacked using their platform as a public official to try to overturn fair and free elections. Many are also spearhead efforts to pass sweeping sets of voter suppression laws.
Until these officials are removed from their government positions and held accountable, the danger will persist. Senators investigating what happened on January 6 cannot only be concerned with police misconduct and inadequate preparation; they must also look within the Republican Party.
But the insurgents are not the only problem. There are a lot more Republicans within our state houses which prompted former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the election was stolen and fanned the flames of the insurgency. They keep doing it.
Indeed, instead of taking a measured stand against insurgents and conspiracy theorists, Republican members have welcomed and allowed bad actors in their party. In fact, the top GOP official who has faced party repudiation is someone who refused to accept the election lies: Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted from the Republican House leadership. of the United States for its commitment to the truth.
Brand names like Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene may grab headlines, but the problem of radical Republican extremism runs much deeper than a few notorious individuals in Washington. To take an example: Mark Finchem, a representative for the state of Arizona, is affiliated with far-right groups like the Oath Keepers and the Coalition of Western States. It is considered a extremist by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism for its involvement in these groups.
Finchem assisted the violent insurgency in DC and initially defended the rioters, although he later attempted to claim that it was in fact antifa that stormed the Capitol. Recently, new evidence has emerged which appears to show that the lawmaker right in front of the Capitol after rioters broke through a series of barricades and police lines. Finchem is now a candidate for the post of Secretary of State, although he was at the center of the effort to overturn the Arizona election results last year. Arizona Republicans responded with bury a bill to expel it and the laundering of 82 ethical complaints linked to his participation in the January 6 riot.
The revelation about Finchem’s activities in Washington follows a Discovery about Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, who initially claimed he left the area as soon as the mob turned violent. Newly released images show he was apparently closer to the Capitol headquarters than he originally suggested.
At the time, GOP State Senate Chairman Pro Tempore Jake Corman said the Senate had “no reason to act”In the face of calls to remove Mastriano from his post. Since then, the GOP leadership has repeatedly refused to comment on new evidence regarding his conduct during the insurgency. Masstriano is now exploring a race for governor. He said Trump wanted him to show up and that he change Pennsylvania election laws. Matriano too organized bus for insurgency participants and advocated for Pennsylvania election results to be reversed.
Beyond the threat these lawmakers represent to their positions, the failure to hold elected officials who witnessed the riot accountable serves to embolden further. Many participants in the January 6 riot are office candidate, an alarming development which jeopardizes any chance of moving forward.
Even Republican leaders who did not attend the riot are spreading disinformation about this and our elections in their home states. Mike Shirkey, Michigan’s top Republican, has appeared with the state’s far-right militias; He has even offered to help they work on their messaging. In the aftermath of the insurgency, Shirkey said he sympathized with the mob, then called it hoax and hinted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have played a role. He also hinted that there is “puppeteers»Controlling elected officials.
Despite these lopsided thoughts, Shirkey is still the head of the Michigan Senate GOP. The National Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, instead of condemning the legislator, welcomed him on their tray.
The insurgents are not the only problem. There are many more Republicans in our state houses who pushed the “big lie” of former President Donald Trump.
In Arizona, Republican Senate Speaker Karen Fann is among many leaders who say they have doubts about the election. This triggered the deeply compromised election “audit” of the state. Classes by a solidify without electoral experience belonging to a follower of “Stop the Steal” to start a random wild goose hunt inspired by savage plot theories that have no basis in reality. The effort is a huge waste of taxpayer resources – but serves as a cover to pass bills make voting more difficult. Two real independent audits already confirmed President Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Republican elected officials, who have taken an oath to defend our democracy, pose a significant threat to our very system of government. We don’t just need to hold accountable the growing number of Republican public officials who are conspiracy theorists – we also need to condemn leaders who have turned a blind eye to hardline members of their party and those who use their lies. for political purposes. Our democracy cannot last if we do not have a common understanding of the challenges we face. No security measure can protect us from Republican lawmakers determined to use their power to undermine our democracy and spread lies.