5/14 The Accountability Era, Chapter 2
Today, States United Democracy Center Executive Chair Norman Eisen, Co-Chair Governor Christine Todd Whitman and I wrote a piece for Newsweek about where we are as a nation four months after the January 6 insurrection. It follows a piece that we penned for CNN in mid-February, arguing that the era of accountability for ex-President Donald Trump had begun. We are now in the second chapter of that era and, while we’ve made progress, the road to securing our democracy is anything but smooth.
“The violent insurrection of January 6 led to a bipartisan impeachment and trial of then-President Donald Trump, and our view that the era of accountability had arrived,” we wrote. “Four months later, it is well under way—but so is a furious backlash from the adversaries of democracy. Those of us who believe in free and fair elections must redouble our efforts.”
On Wednesday, House Republicans chose lies over truth by voting to remove Representative Liz Cheney from the party’s number three leadership position. Cheney has refused to accept the lies that contributed to the insurrection, and she has been vocal in her opposition to former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories. Prior to the closed-door vote, she reportedly told her fellow Republicans that we “cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy. Down that path lies our destruction, and potentially the destruction of our country.”
Speaking of efforts to unravel our democracy, the “fraudit” in Arizona went on hiatus this week. Stretching into its third week, there seems to be “no firm end date for the audit.” And with graduation ceremonies set to take place in the venue where the “fraudit” is taking place, the entire operation was required to reassess next steps and has now been extended.
In 2020, telling the truth about the election was often met with threats of violence—and sadly that trend persists. In a response to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’s plea for the state Senate to come to terms with the already twice-audited results, she received death threats. The threats were so serious that Governor Doug Ducey ordered Department of Public Safety protection for Hobbs and her family.
In addition to concerns about the Arizona “fraudit” spreading to other states and the wave of voter suppression bills sweeping the country, we have also been focused on putting a spotlight on another dangerous trend pushed by anti-democratic forces: election interference and manipulation. In his latest New York Times column, Tom Friedman cited our new report on the topic. More on that below.
Have a great weekend,
Here is this week’s update:
|New York Times (opinion): “The Trump G.O.P.’s Plot AgainstLiz Cheney—and Our Democracy.” By Thomas L. Friedman. (May 11, 2021)
“According to a new report by Protect Democracy, Law Forward and the States United Democracy Center, ‘Across the country, state legislators are proposing bills that would give partisan state legislators greater control over elections while hamstringing experienced state and local election administrators who have traditionally run our voting systems. . . .
“‘Many of the bills would make elections more difficult to administer or even unworkable; make it more difficult to finalize election results; allow for election interference and manipulation by hyperpartisan actors; and, in the worst cases, allow state legislatures to overturn the will of the voters and precipitate a democracy crisis.’
“Had these bills been in place in 2020, it added, ‘they would have . . . raised the prospect that the outcome of the election would have been contrary to the popular vote.’”
Talking Points Memo: “Manchin Compromise Idea For Voting Rights Gets A Shot Across the Bow From Cornyn.” By Tierney Sneed. (May 13, 2021)
Washington Post: “The making of a myth: Russell J. Ramsland Jr. sold everything from Tex-Mex food to light-therapy technology. Then he sold the story that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.” By Emma Brown, Aaron C. Davis, Jon Swaine, and Josh Dawsey. (May 9, 2021)
FiveThirtyEight: “Republicans Have Made It Harder To Vote In 11 States So Far.” By Nathaniel Rakich and Elena Mejia. (May 11, 2021)
CBS: “What we know about the ‘unprecedented’ U.S. Capitol riot arrests.” By Clare Hymes, Cassidy McDonald, and Eleanor Watson. (May 11, 2021)
TIME: “Arizona Enacts Mail Voting Restrictions. Here’s What to Know.” By Sanya Mansoor. (May 11, 2021)
New York Times: “Why a Lifelong Republican Views Arizona’s Recount as Wrong.” By Jennifer Medina. (May 11, 2021)
Detroit Free Press: “Setting the record straight on claims made in support of Republican election bills.” By Clara Hendrickson. (May 12, 2021)
New York Times: “Exchange Over ‘Purity’ of Vote Puts Texas G.O.P. Firebrand in Spotlight.” By Dave Montgomery and Nick Corasaniti. (May 12, 2021)