Americans Are Dangerously Divided on the Insurrection – By William Saletan (Slate) / June 9 2021
Too many Republicans support it, and too many Americans don’t want to investigate or prosecute it.
On Tuesday, more than a week after Republican senators filibustered and blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked whether he would call the events of that day an insurrection. “I’ve said a lot about that already,” McConnell replied, ducking the question. “I really don’t think there’s anything I could add.”
McConnell’s reticence and his party’s obstruction of the commission are warning signs that American democracy is less secure than ever. Republican leaders continue to promote, excuse, or downplay lies about the 2020 election, and they have reaffirmed their fealty to former President Donald Trump, who—having provoked the Jan. 6 assault in a failed attempt to stay in power—rejects the current government as illegitimate. But the threat goes beyond Trump and his base. Attitudes that are fundamentally dangerous to democracy and the rule of law—against accepting election results, against investigating the insurrection, and against prosecuting the perpetrators—have spread to the general public.
The situation within the GOP is grave. Polls taken in April and May show that among rank-and-file Republicans, disbelief in the government’s legitimacy has hardly subsided. Two-thirds to three-quarters of Republicans continue to say that President Joe Biden was illegitimately elected. More than 60 percent say the election was “stolen from Trump.” When they’re asked who “the true President is right now,” most Republicans say it’s Trump. And more than 30 percent of Republicans reject a basic premise of democracy: that “the loser in an election must concede defeat.”