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Jan. 6 showed an attempted coup by force, but new legislation is making way for a coup by politics

A destructive mob of Trump supporters floods into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The president was criticized for inciting the rioters and for failing to quell the insurrection.
Jon Cherry
/
Getty Images
A destructive mob of Trump supporters floods into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The president was criticized for inciting the rioters and for failing to quell the insurrection.

On January 6, 2021, as the nation watched a violent mob terrorize the US capitol, it was clear why they were there. Both Republican and Democratic leaders condemned the insurrection and the lie that had spurred it: that the 2020 election had been stolen from then-President Donald Trump. But a lot has changed since that day. We look at the shifting narratives and how baseless voter fraud claims affect voter rights.

A lot has changed since that day. In the year since the insurrection, many Republican politicians have used these baseless claims of voter fraud to bolster legislation that would make it more difficult to vote and, in some cases, further politicize the election process and threaten the legitimacy of elections.

"The evidence about what's happened in state legislatures since Jan. 6 has suggested that a real threat to electoral democracy need not take a violent form. It actually could look somewhat more normal or legal or procedural or technical," says Philip Rocco, an associate professor of political science at Marquette University.

In Wisconsin, several audits of the election have not found unusual irregularities, and it's unclear what new information the current audit hopes to find. Still, Republicans continue to push legislation that could make it more difficult to vote or make it easier for local officials to overturn the will of voters in Wisconsin and other states.

Rocco explains, "The legislation that we've seen emerge, I think the Georgia law that has passed is the best example of this. It makes it easier for state legislatures to kind of nullify the results of a democratic election."

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