Failure of Congress to Hold Trump Accountable Shows Urgent Need for Democracy Reform

Donald Trump points towards the camera while speaking at a podium behind glass and next to an American flag
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Jim Bourg

By today’s vote, 43 Senators failed to hold former President Trump to full account for his conduct, which threatened our 228-year tradition of peaceful transfers of the presidency under our Constitution. There is, however, action which Congress can now take that will bind some of the wounds of our democracy and strengthen it for elections to come. With the images of violence on January 6 fresh in our minds, we must pass comprehensive democracy reform that brings us a system that rewards accountable government over tribal partisanship.

We’ve already seen the real consequences of declining public confidence in elections and can’t afford further erosion. We need reform that will free Americans from voter suppression and extreme gerrymandering. We must also reimagine our campaign finance system and break its reliance on wealthy special interests. We need a government that puts American interests before self-interest.

Congress has the bill to do it. The For the People Act (introduced as H.R. 1 in the House, S.1 in the Senate) would address a number of long-identified problems with our lection system and create a more inclusive democracy for all. Congress should move quickly to do so.

Trevor is CLC's founder and one of the country's top election lawyers.