Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (City & State photo by Justin Sweitzer).
By Michael Berman
When I was a kid I learned the story of the emperor who wore no clothes, yet many followers denied reality and helped his delusions of sartorial splendor. Today, we are living that reality.
Over the course of the summer, the House Select Committee on January 6 made that case as it presented its findings. former President Donald Trump and his allies violently and criminally attempted to overthrow the will of the people on Jan. 6, 2021.
But the attack on our country didn’t end on that day. Here in Pennsylvania, we have people such aas state senator and current Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, and GOP U.S. Reps. Scott Perry and Mike Kelly who continue to threaten our right to pick who leads us.
When the hearings began in June, Republicans in Pennsylvania tried to dismiss the investigation, calling it a distraction from issues like inflation or a partisan witch hunt. I guess it’s true that it has been partisan – all of the witnesses have been Republicans! But this is no witch hunt. And Pennsylvanians are aware of that.
A recent poll from Defend Democracy Project and Public Policy Polling showed that a large majority (78 percent) of Pennsylvania voters have seen, heard, or read a lot or some about the investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into what happened on Jan. 6 and the events leading up to it.
Pennsylvanians also show support for the investigation by a 12-point margin (52-40 percent). And a majority (60 percent) consider the events on Jan. 6 and the effort to overturn elections to be a problem. More than half (51 percent) of voters consider the problem to not only be Donald Trump, but also members of the Republican Party who are loyalists to Trump.
It’s clear that we in Pennsylvania have been paying attention, but the results were similar across the country. Across all seven states polled, voters said they were concerned about the attack on Jan. 6 and that they hold Trump and Republicans, not just Trump, responsible for the attack, and over half of voters (52 percent) support the Committee’s investigation.
Voters have become much more aware of the Congressional investigation into Jan. 6tover the last few months according to July polling. What’s more: they are concerned with what they’ve heard about Donald Trump and the Trump Republicans who helped him try to overturn the 2020 election.
The hearings have proven that Donald Trump and Trump Republicans knowingly engaged in a criminal conspiracy and used violence to try to overturn a U.S. presidential election they know they had lost.
The threat to our right to pick our own leaders did not end after Jan. 6. MAGA Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature have spent months pursuing investigations into Pennsylvania’s election infrastructure and pushing for subpoenas of voter information and voting machines.
This year in Pennsylvania, Mastriano—a leading election conspiracy theorist who has been subpoenaed by the committee for leading buses to the Capitol on January 6—is running for governor in a bid to control the state’s electoral apparatus for the next election. Mastriano has joined an ‘America First’ coalition seeking to elect QAnon-friendly Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections. Additionally, Perry, R-10th District, is under subpoena by the January 6 committee for his communications with Trump administration officials involved in planning the events of Jan. 6th. And, the FBI recently seized his cell phone as part of their investigations.
The threat continues today and will only grow stronger unless MAGA Republicans here in Pennsylvania and all over America are stopped. Their reaction to the lawfully executed warrant at Donald Trump’s home shows how they will stop at nothing, including violence, when elections or the law do not go their way. Americans across the country know that this is not the path forward.
Michael Berman is the Pennsylvania state director for the Defend Democracy Project, a voters rights group active in key swing states across the country. He writes from Philadelphia.
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