On Jan. 6, 2021, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy begged then-President Trump to call off the attack on the Capitol building.
He didn’t ask House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He didn’t plead for antifa to stop. He called Trump.
He knew exactly who was responsible.
Afterward, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Former President Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty. ... There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “When it comes to accountability the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution.”
Trump finally called the attackers off, telling them, “So go home. We love you. You’re very special.” Was he speaking to antifa? No. He was speaking to the violent insurrectionists who were fighting on his behalf.
It didn’t take long after President Biden’s Jan. 6, 2022, commemoration speech for Republicans to claim that he was politicizing the event because he pointed to Trump as the cause. What was he supposed to say? “Somebody did something”?
Trump tried to overthrow a free and fair election. He later begged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to change the election and make him president. We have it on tape. Why isn’t he in prison?
The letter writer’s wish (“My New Year’s wish,” Jan. 5) to dissolve both major parties is understandable. He recognizes that this will not likely happen. We are going to have political parties and movements.
Parties are OK and possibly useful. But they have demonstrated over and over that they cannot be trusted to conduct an honorable election. The dominant party uses everything from gerrymandering to voter suppression to keep their hold on power.
But as Byron Williams has pointed out (“As Democrats try to predict the future …,” Dec. 19), the unaffiliated voters outnumber those in either party. Both major parties will try to keep the independents from gaining power. And we need the voices of these independents in our Congress and state legislatures to soften the polarization stifling us now.
In addition to stopping gerrymandering, voter suppression and other tricks, one thing that would help is open primaries. Make the rules the same for everyone to get their names on the primary ballot. They could identify as a member of a political party if they wanted to, but that would be irrelevant to whether they win the right to be on the general election ballot. Voters could mark preferences from one to whatever for the various offices. Then we vote on the top two vote-getters in the general election.
OK, this probably won’t happen in my lifetime either. But it could. It would take a grassroots movement — we are unlikely to get much help from the political parties.
Basic voting rights
I am sure many of us have friends and relatives we can’t seem to reason with. And we have been taught to find common ground and look for points we can agree on.
So I want to agree that the last election was very stressful. In part it was stressful because we were in a pandemic and we did not know how safe it would be to wait in line to vote.
State legislatures acted quickly to expand mail-in voting but each state created different rules. And that expansion and lack of consistency is the only rational way I can interpret the constant claim of election fraud.
Let’s make the election easier to understand. Yes, the early returns can be misleading when so many mail-in votes are still uncounted (misleading one to think he was winning).
However, a universal voting rights bill that can guide states with consistency on mail-in ballot cut offs or drop slots for those ballots might help us find common ground! We would understand that the true result of an election comes later than election night.