BY DAVID HANSON AND RICHARD SKOLNIK
We respond here to Joyce Anderson’s letter of October 28, in which she suggested that Democrats have long been associated with election denialism. She also suggested that our concerns about the fitness of election deniers to serve in public office are unfounded.
We submit that Ms. Anderson’s reading of history is mistaken and dangerous to the well-being of our democracy. We have not checked – but won’t dispute that the statements Ms. Anderson quoted are real. However, they have never represented anything more than statements. The Democrats have never turned them into a concerted movement that questioned the integrity of the electoral process or attempted to overturn it. The Bush/Gore presidential election went to the Supreme Court. However, after the Court’s decision, Al Gore accepted Bush’s victory. Hilary Clinton may have felt like “the election was stolen from her” by the FBI and Russian interference. Nonetheless, she led no organized effort to overturn the election results.
By contrast, Donald Trump and his enablers are leading a movement for which denying the integrity of the electoral process and creating an “alternate election realty” is fundamental. On January 2, 2021, Donald Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State and said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes”, the minimum number needed to overcome Biden’s advantage in Georgia. In addition, Donald Trump made the notion of a stolen election the focus of his speech to the January 6 group that mobbed the capitol in an effort to keep Congress from certifying the presidential vote. Trump later Tweeted to the same group: “Remember this day forever!” Donald Trump also called on Mike Pence, his Vice President, to send the election back to the states, so that they could “recertify it”. In a strong signal to his election denying supporters, Donald Trump did not attend the inauguration of his successor, an important symbol of America’s democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.
In this light, we encourage Ms. Anderson and those who share her views to think more carefully about the “equivalence” between the statements by Democrats and the efforts in which Trump and his election denying supporters are now engaged. We also encourage Ms. Anderson to read history more carefully. She may then conclude, as some of our best historians have, that Trump and those who deny the election results represent a grave threat to American democracy.
It is for this reason, among others stated in our October 11 letter, that we continue to believe that candidates who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election and refuse to acknowledge the insurrection on January 6, 2021 are unfit to serve the public at any level of government.