By Ellie Fletcher – International Affairs Editor
A year on from the events of January 6th, 2021, US politics remains as polarised as ever. Whilst one side argues this was a group of patriots doing their duty to protect democracy, the other side calls it an attempted coup. Essentially it was. The United States of America is called ‘the land of the free, and home of the brave’ yet over eighty percent of Republicans still believe President Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election. This implies that a large proportion of Americans do not believe 2020 was a free and fair election. Additionally, the lack of bravery within the Republican Party to take a stand against former President Trump and his campaign of disinformation is startling; it allows for divisions to grow within the party.
Vice-President Kamala Harris has compared the insurrection on the Capitol Building to the events of Pearl Harbour and September 11th, 2001. This caused angered for some as they believe those were acts of war and terrorism, whereas the Capitol riots were just a form of protest. However, this was an attack at the heart of American democracy, which is something many Americans hold sacred and call a fundamental right. The United States has always prided itself and preached how its President is the ‘leader of the free world’ yet there remains a large proportion of people who believe their democracy was rigged; a claim without foundation, yet preached like the gospel. This in turn infers that the American people are starting to turn their back on something that has been held with great esteem since the country gained its independence in 1776.
Furthermore, divisions between the two parties are as prominent as ever. Following the attack on the Capitol Building, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, making him the first President in United States history to be impeached twice. However, Republicans in the Senate voted to acquit him. This highlights how the two main parties cannot put the needs of the country ahead of personal party politics.
Another interesting turn of events was the fact some of former President Trump’s most loyal supporters turned their back on him. Many of those who stormed the Capitol saw it as a betrayal that he did not publicly support them; instead he ‘told them to go home’. This caused them to turn their backs on a President that they had fought for. In addition, the more moderate wing of Trump supporters had hoped Trump would have said something earlier, and whilst they believed the election had been fraudulent, they did not want to see violence used.
Overall, a year on from the insurrection on the Capitol Building, and arguably the only progress that has been made is that some of the rioters have now been imprisoned. The question that remains is: how can an attack on the foundation of American Democracy not result in the two main parties being more unified?