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Effective Demagogues, the Eternal Enemy of Democracy

That the world is in turmoil, that it is going through an uncertain (if not dangerous) period in its history, is illustrated by the operation to derail democracy in the United States led by Donald Trump.

In the United States of America for God’s sake!

We often wonder how it was possible to endanger democracy in America, the country that is the model of democracy. The country that we all take for granted, believing in her without question – and that its democracy is a given. Democracy could be endangered elsewhere, but not in America, we all said.

On Thursday, June 9, beginning at 8PM and lasting for two hours, the Commission of the House of Representatives – Republicans refused to attend with the exception of two individuals, one of whom is the Commission Vice President Liz Cheney – which is in charge of investigating the events of January 6, 2022, in a live broadcast, with deliberateness and with seriousness, presented the first batch of indisputable facts that prove that an attempt was really made to overthrow democracy in America.

In particular, they demonstrated that a coup was attempted, not by the well-known method of using the armed forces to overthrow democracy and usurp power, as is done in other countries, but by refusing to accept the result of the election and the transfer of power from the losing candidate to the winner.

The congressional hearing did not reveal anything essentially new, but what it presented had more weight and substance than what we had earlier heard about, since it comes from an official source, and from witnesses who held key positions in the state apparatus. For example, the statement of the most relevant official, the Attorney General, who declared in the clearest possible way, using a very descriptive word, that he told Trump that there was no fraud in the election result.

Even Trump’s own daughter, as well as his son-in-law, agreed with the Attorney General and not with their father.

In other words, they said in a recorded statement that Trump lost his re-election. That Biden was in fact elected the new President.

One of the most tense moments of the hearing was when the Commission showed a video, which was not known until then, that presented the extent of the destruction, the violence, the use of chemicals, and the destruction caused by the invaders.

In it, a Capitol police officer said, “I was slipping in people’s blood.”

The vast majority of Republicans, like FOX News, downplay the significance of the January 6 uprising.

But not the flagship of the Conservatives. For example, the Wall Street Journal. In their main article, entitled ‘The Evidence of the Jan. 6 Committee’, published a few days ago, they stated:

“Pity the people who went to Washington believing this nonsense, not least the more than 800 who have been charged with criminal offenses. Thursday’s hearing ended with video of rioters explaining their thinking, as their criminal charges flashed on the screen. ‘I did believe that the election was being stolen,’ one man said, ‘and Trump asked us to come.’”

And the WSJ declared: “It’s a reminder of the violence and how Trump betrayed his supporters.”

This is the danger that threatens democracy. That at various times in history comes an effective demagogue who deceives the people and either unravels or seriously endangers democracy.
Nothing, then, is a given. Not even democracy in a country with a 250-year democratic tradition.

“There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,” said Cheney, addressing her colleagues.


My name is Charles Robbins, the chief correspondent of the Chicago Daily Tribune in Constantinople.

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