In an extremely well-timed poll, Scott Rasmussen just revealed that nearly a third of all American voters believe that President Donald Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election. Combined with another 10 percent of voters who aren’t sure who won the contest, the result ought to go a long way towards explaining why we saw the scenes we did at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
According to the survey, 31% of voters view Trump as the winner, 59% give the nod to Joe Biden, and another 10% can’t say either way. As you would expect, the divide is dramatically partisan: 64% of Republicans see Trump as having won the election while 93% of Democrats are sure that Biden was the legitimate winner.
This is why our leaders (and our media) will make a drastic mistake if they respond to Wednesday’s chaos with the dismissive attitude we’ve seen thus far. We’re not going to get into a situation where we’re defending what went down. It was wrong. It was as wrong as Black Lives Matter burning down buildings in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Portland, and well, actually, just fill in the blank and you’ll probably be right. We condemned that, and we condemn this (though we’ll note that these protesters, by and large, were a hell of a lot less violent and destructive than the left’s usual representatives).
But instead of braying about how Trump incited sedition or how Ted Cruz has blood on his hands, why not use this time for some reflection? Instead of mocking the people who stormed the Capitol or fantasizing about an alternate universe where the cops wildly opened fire on them, why not try to understand why they felt compelled to do this in the first place?
“Democracy is a pressure relief valve,” Tucker Carlson said on his show Wednesday night. “As long as people sincerely believe they can change things by voting, they stay calm. They don’t burst into the House chamber. They talk and they organize and they vote. But the opposite is also true if people begin to believe that their democracy is fraudulent, that voting is a charade, that the system is rigged and it’s run in secret by a small group of powerful, dishonest people who are acting in their own interests. Then, God knows what could happen.”
Precisely. The proper response to Wednesday’s chaos is more transparency. More effort in opening democracy up to the citizens of the United States. More support for the First Amendment. It is troubling and disconcerting to see that some of the first concrete actions we’ve seen are social media companies banning President Trump and his supporters from their platforms.
When the people are demanding to be heard and your response is, “No, you will be silenced”…well, you don’t need a crystal ball to see what comes next.