Capitol siege shouldn’t be confused as a protest or hard feelings after an election loss
A few weeks ago when I let out a fully surprised and incredulous laugh when a friend let out he really believed Trump won the election – he is a good man, bright, and I was unfortunately caught off guard .
I had accesses via Westlaw etc. to read Court briefs, exhibits, decisions. I had watched unedited tapes. He was just listening to highly “motivated” partisan news sources.
But it made me look at why people believe Trump won. Sure Trump was saying it but his veracity is not exactly sterling. He said if he lost 2016 it would be fraud too.
But today I ran across old polling figures from Fairleigh Dickinson University. I found that maybe 61% of Republicans think something was wrong. But similarly in 2004, 37% of Democrats thought Bush stole Ohio and in 2012, 36% of Republicans thought Obama stole Ohio. Only 30% of Republicans thought the 2012 election was legitimate.
The pollsters found that the more a respondent knew about politics and issues, the less likely there were to question the results. And they found that the more “motivated” the voter towards a candidate the more apt they were to think something was fixed against them. Motivation to get a result is what Murdoch’s son implied about his Dad’s Fox network last week.
Of course in none of those elections did a candidate claim fraud and take, and invite, extreme actions to stay in power. This year was a first. And people wonder because of that if we can go back to being a law abiding nation in which all would respond in horror to anyone who would storm the Capitol, prepared to take hostages, kill and do whatever to get their way.
But, fortunately, looking at the historical numbers demands we consider that we are simply in the smarting period after a hard fought loss. It does not mean the mainstream of any party would ever be so blind to let this happen again. With luck the horror we saw will mean we all become more careful to never let it happen again.
And maybe the shock of what happened will mean we open our eyes to the difference between protest and violence. Last summer some protest was marred by violence. On Jan 6th planned Supremacist and neo-Nazi violence assault destroyed what was, for a few MAGA, mere protest.
The numbers-driven conclusion is we need to talk things through rather than being sure those who disagree with us are out to get us and will destroy things. I respectfully submit that if we adapt that attitude we will all get by just fine. This is the USA!
Conrad F. Cropsey