“Capitol Violence Underscores Need for Political Reforms”
Transpartisan Note #139
shared by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner
We present this statement about the violence at the Capitol on January 6th from Unite America, one of the many groups we see as expressing the TANSPARTISAN Impulse in American society. It speaks from an important point of view seeking expression within the American political process. We believe the statement is an important contribution to understanding the nature of the events that are taking place in Washington DC and how Americans are responding to those events.
A week ago, our nation was sorely tested as a deadly insurrection fueled by self-interested politicians and partisan disinformation aimed to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election.
Those images made clear for all to see that our political division and gridlock no longer simply undermine the functioning of our government; they now threaten the very continuity of our democratic republic.
This is a moment not only for unequivocal words, but also for bold action: We must hold the leaders who betrayed the public trust accountable, and we must greatly accelerate nonpartisan reforms to break the doom loop of political polarization that is fueling growing unrest.
Unite America is, as described on their website, “a movement of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents working to put voters first by fostering a more representative and functional government.” They invest in campaigns to enact reforms and elect candidates so that “the right leaders have the right incentives” to solve our country’s greatest problems:
In 2020, Unite America supported a cross-partisan slate of candidates who had committed themselves to putting country over party and championing reforms to improve our political system. We are proud that most of these leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, voted to uphold the will of the people in the last election. In particular, we express enormous gratitude to Rep. Peter Meijer, a Michigan Republican, who has been outspoken regarding the integrity of our elections and the need for honesty from our political leaders.
“It didn’t have to end like this, with five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. This should be a moment of reckoning for the country as a whole, and the conservative movement in particular,” Meijer (pictured) said. “If the Republican Party ever hopes to regain the public’s trust and lead the country forward after this heinous assault, it must first be honest with itself.”
We agree. We also believe there must be accountability for all 147 members of Congress who voted to object to the Electoral College results certification — putting party over country — just hours after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a violent mob. Generations of Americans have risked their lives to protect that building and what it stands for, yet these members refused to even risk their jobs to uphold their oath of office to protect and defend our Constitution.
Unite America’s core mission to invest in “nonpartisan ballot initiatives and legislative campaigns that increase competition, participation, and accountability” supports “pro-reform, pragmatic candidates committed to putting people over party,” as Nick explains:
The key to fixing our politics is not just to change who we elect, but how we elect. As long as our leaders’ path to election runs through the extreme bases of both political parties, and as long as both political parties are insulated from any kind of new competition, our country will continue to be torn apart and our democracy will continue to fray.
The events of Jan. 6, 2021, must prompt a clarion call for Congress and state legislatures to eliminate partisan gerrymandering, closed primaries, plurality-winner elections, and barriers to voter participation that collectively disenfranchise citizens, distort representation, and fuel our division.
Read the full piece at RealClear Politics. RCP’s “daily editorial curation and original reporting” present balanced, non-partisan analysis that empowers readers to stay informed.