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Gerardo Kharriman

Because the truth matters, and it matters a lot in democracies: Trump and the assault on the US Capitol.

- What happened at the headquarters of the US federal legislature is a sample of how far Trump can go to stay in power, just as other populist leaders in the world would do,

Because the truth matters, and it matters a lot in democracies: Trump and the assault on the US Capitol.

What happened in Washington D.C., on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol, the seat of the Federal Congress of the United States, is unprecedented in the modern life of that country. A handful of supporters of President Donald Trump forced their way into the historic compound incited by the sophistical argument of the president of an alleged fraud in the November elections of last year, in which the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, emerged victorious.

On the eve of Biden's inauguration, the cited date became relevant for two reasons. The first was that Congress had planned an important session with the objective of certifying the votes cast by the Electoral College on the previous December 14, as part of the traditional and constitutional process of every four years. Secondly, the results of the second round of the elections in the state of Georgia were expected, which would define the balance between Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate.

In relation to the session of Congress to confirm the results of the Electoral College, although said process was merely protocol, Trump's intransigent and obstinate position motivated his supporters during a rally in the morning, and under the motto “Save America ” (Save America), to address the Capitol to express their disagreement. Additionally, Trump anticipated via Twitter that Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to "reject voters chosen fraudulently", something that the latter later denied through a letter published on his Twitter account, which probably represented a break. Between both. What happened then has been described as shameful and as an attack on democracy and North American institutions by important personalities from both parties, including former presidents such as George W. Bush, who pointed out that "this is how electoral results are disputed in a banana republic, not in our democratic republic".

In the end, the events in the Capitol only delayed the inevitable, since the session resumed once the security situation in the compound was controlled to sanction the expected result in both Chambers (and despite the objections of a handful of legislators favorable to Trump, such as Ted Cruz and Josh Howley), that is, the triumph of Joe Biden was confirmed, even with the participation of Vice President Pence, thus fulfilling his constitutional mandate. In short, it seems that what happened only encouraged the majority of Congress to position itself and unite in favor of legitimizing the election and show its rejection of Trump's worn-out discourse of fraud, it has even seriously considered the [possible application of a constitutional amendment to remove Trump from office for incitement to sedition]( =hp-top-table-main-0106).

Regarding the results in Georgia, we now know that the result was favorable to the Democratic candidates and, therefore, the Senate will have the same number of legislators from both parties (50 each), but by virtue of her role as future Senate President , the incoming vice president, Kamala Harris, will have the decisive or tiebreaking vote to channel Joe Biden's proposals and projects. What is also curious is that Trump's role may have been a determining factor in the state results due to his constant rejection of the results of the elections and above all, when he pressured the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brian Raffensperger, to change the electoral results in your entity. However, the official (by the way a Republican), [respectfully but firmly rejected the president's request and stressed to the latter that he was misinformed]( us/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-georgia.html?searchResultPosition=2). Specifically, and without detracting from the Democratic effort, Trump's recklessness may have motivated voters to vote for Democratic candidates in Georgia. It is a very realistic possibility.

Taking into account the above, particularly the events that occurred in the Capitol, it is worth asking how is it that this hitherto unthinkable point has been reached in the country that claims to be the model of world democracy?

You should not fall into naivety. Such a situation was known to be a matter of time. For the past four years and more during his campaign, Trump has dedicated himself to dividing and attacking adversaries as well as immigrants and Muslims. He, too, had already been known since before he became president of the United States. He himself warned last year that he would not accept defeat, anticipated that there would be fraud and has maintained the same discourse since the November elections despite the fact that he or his legal team have not presented any evidence and all their attempts to reverse the election result they have been rejected and dismissed by all the corresponding judicial and electoral authorities, precisely for lack of evidence. His entire strategy has been based on holding unsubstantiated conjectures such as the conspiracy theory that he was the victim of a stolen election and he has used every means available to promote such a fallacy without prejudice. However, that was already known. It is also somewhat logical that his collaborators do not contradict or deny him, but what is impressive and worrying is not that Trump believes his own lies, but that there are others who believe him, especially that the majority of the Republican party does not seem to realize realize the risks of having a man like Trump in the White House.

Until the unfortunate events in the Capitol, including the [tragic deaths registered] -56167464), some Republicans were unaware or unwilling to realize the implications of having a narcissistic, selfish, egotistical, populist in power. Unaware or not, the Republican party is partly responsible for it. Some politicians have already stated it, at least implicitly. For example, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's allies, expressed during the resumed session of Congress on January 6, that: "[it's a very bad idea to postpone this election... I hate that it has to be so... don't count on me... that's enough... in this body you need to say that: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to be the president and vice president of the United States on January 20]( -graham-joe-biden-is-the-legitimate-president/)”. Despite this, the reaction has been somewhat late, and as mentioned, there is some complicity in the Republican wing for having condescended to the “Trumpian” discourse, and as a result, the consequences of the Trump legacy will continue for a long time to come. That will be Joe Biden's main challenge, just as Abraham Lincoln faced him at the time: achieving pacification, unification, détente and national reconciliation, challenges that countries with fragile institutions and highly polarized societies normally now face.

What happened at the headquarters of the US federal legislature is an example of how far Trump can go in order to stay in power, as they did and do [other populist leaders in the world, such as Maduro in Venezuela, Víctor Orban in Hungary, Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus]( 20210107&utm_term=FA%20This%20Week%20-%20112017), among others. It is a test of what a populist can do in order to achieve and achieve his petty interests. It is a reminder to all of what divisive, racist and polarizing speech can do, but most of all, a lesson in how dangerous it is when sophistry is tolerated and allowed to have the microphone and the spotlight. Brad Raffensperger himself put it right when he noted that “truth matters” , as well as what was said by the Republican Senator for Utah, Mitt Romney, who also stressed the following: “[the best way we can show respect for those dissatisfied voters is by telling them the truth…that is the duty and responsibility of leadership] (”. In this context, the most important lesson is that the truth does matter and it matters a lot and we must fight to care for it, maintain it and promote it to prevent the deception of other megalomaniacs and sore losers like Trump from exacerbating extremism and fanaticism, and thus having repercussions. negatively in a democratic society, as despicable individuals such as Hitler did at the time, who found fertile ground in the face of the disagreements of societies affected and/or disillusioned in many ways, partly thanks to the fact that many tolerated, accepted and even believed the sophistries and fallacies of divisive and intolerant discourses.

The parallels with Mexico are not avoidable and it is important to see yourself in a mirror to reflect and keep in mind what happened in the United States in order to eradicate the populism that leads to polarization, confrontation, prejudice, intolerance, racism, corruption and impunity caused by lies and, on the contrary, promote respect, tolerance and take care of the truth, because the truth does matter, and it matters a lot in democracies.

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Kharriman, Gerardo. “Porque la verdad importa, e importa muchísimo en las democracias: Trump y el asalto al Capitolio de EE.UU..” CEMERI, 14 sept. 2022,