January 6 Assault on the Capitol: A Danger to Democracy

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Tyler Merbler / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

After four public hearings on the insurrection of January 6, the evidence is in plain view: a president of the United States and a group of his collaborators designed and implemented a plan to illegally invalidate the legitimate electoral victory of Joe Biden in 2020 and tried in earnest to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

Millions of Americans have tuned in to this healthy exercise in public accountability. It is not for nothing. Liberal and conservative jurists have agreed that the world’s oldest democracy was on the verge of an unprecedented political “catastrophe” and “constitutional crisis” if Trump’s plans were consummated.

Even accepting that the hearings have an element of political intent for having been organized in an election year, the sequence of events compiled in more than 1,000 interviews and more than 140,000 documents, confirms, in my opinion, a clear attempt by the then president to subvert the democratic process.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are the two legendary Washington Post journalists who know firsthand about abuses of power. Thanks to their investigation of theft by Republican operators from the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, they uncovered the political cover-up scandal that cost Richard Nixon the presidency in 1974.

Last week, on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Watergate case, we had the opportunity to participate, representing Hispanic Communications Network, in the commemoration organized by The Washington Post. Comparisons between the documented abuses of the Nixon era and those of the Trump era were inevitable. Two men willing to take any measure, legal or illegal, to stay in power.

But Nixon is the past and Trump is a public figure not only currently, but a public figure that does not hide his interest in competing in the 2024 presidential elections. From Mar-a-Lago, the former president holds caucuses… he travels the country to harangue his supporters… check or veto Republican candidates. For all practical purposes, Trump is already campaigning.

But his exile has not been entirely successful. The two candidates he supported in the Georgia state primaries were defeated. In other words, Trump is not invincible and has not been able to reconstitute the winning coalition of women, senior citizens and suburbanites that brought him to the White House. The Trump brand remains devalued.

Beyond the outcome of the hearings on January 6 and the possibility that the Department of Justice criminally prosecutes Trump, Latinos remember the undignified treatment he gave us during his presidency and the way in which he sheltered hate groups and white supremacists. If he says he’s not racist, let him prove it.

The November elections are just around the corner. Control of the Lower House and the Senate is at stake, and much more: If the result is seen as favorable to the candidates who support the Trump brand, we already know what awaits us. We cannot call ourselves deceived, but we can make a difference with our voice and with our vote.