A group of Americans stood up to block then-president Donald Trump's attempt to overturn a free and fair vote of the American people.
The path for the next time has been cleared by the Trump-aligned Republicans.
Republicans are taking over the machinery of elections in battleground states. The United States is witnessing a slow-motion insurrection with a better chance of success than the failed power grab of last year, according to experts on democracy and Democrats.
Several candidates who deny Trump's loss are running for offices that could have a key role in the election of the next president in 2024. In Michigan, the Republican Party is trying to increase the number of local boards that can block an election. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the GOP-controlled legislatures are backing open-ended reviews of the 2020 election. The 2020 results will fuel anger for years to come and the efforts are poised to fuel that.
As the Republican Party has become more aligned with Trump, he has made denying the 2020 results a litmus test for his support. The January 6 rioters have been praised by Trump. GOP governors have signed laws that make it harder to vote. Two-thirds of Republicans don't think Democrat Joe Biden was elected president.
Experts say that another baseless challenge to an election has become more likely.
Steven Levitsky, a Harvard political scientist and co-author of the book "How Democracies Die", said that the Republican Party is not willing to accept defeat anymore. The party has become an anti-democratic force.
Both parties have manipulated American democracy. Black people, women, Native Americans and others have been excluded from the process. The rules have been rigged in favor of the Republicans and Democrats.
Experts argue that this is the first time in modern history that a major party has tried to turn the administration of elections into a partisan act.
Republicans who sound alarms are not heard by their own party. The members of the House committee investigating the January insurrection are often dismissed as party apostates. The election denialism has been cast as a distraction.
The people closest to the process are pleading for change. At a recent news conference in Wisconsin, Kathleen Bernier, a GOP state senator and former elections clerk, denounced her party's efforts to seize control of the election process.
The games that people play to jazz up the base is despicable and I don't believe any elected legislator should do that.
The majority of the Republicans who control the state Legislature in Wisconsin do not share the view that Biden won. The Legislative Audit Bureau was ordered to review the 2020 election by the Wisconsin Republicans. There was no significant fraud found in that review. An investigation by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty came to the same conclusion.
Many Republicans think something went wrong. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission was created eight years ago to run the state's elections, and they point to how it changed guidance for local elections officers to make voting easier during the Pandemic.
The Legislature and the commission are at odds over control of elections.
"We need to get this straight for people to believe we have integrity," said GOP Sen. We are trying to change the election. We are trying to change the next election.
The way elections are run in other states are being changed by Republicans. The Georgia election bill signed by the GOP governor gave the General Assembly new powers over the state board of elections.
The law is being used to launch a review of operations in solidly-Democratic Fulton County, which could lead to a state takeover. Local officials can remove Democrats from election boards in six other counties.
In Pennsylvania, the GOP-controlled legislature is looking into the presidential election and subpoenaing voter information that Democrats contend is an unprecedented intrusion into voter privacy. Trump supporters are signing up for local election jobs in droves. A pastor who attended the January 6 rally in the nation's capital won a race to become an election judge.
In Michigan, the GOP has focused on the county boards of canvassers. In November of 2020, Trump urged the two Republican members of the board overseeing Wayne County, home to Democratic-bastion Detroit, to vote to block certification of the election.
The local Republicans replaced her with Robert Boyd, who told The Detroit Free Press that he would not have certified Biden's win.
A call for comment was not returned by the man.
In the state's third most populous county, a swap occurred where a tradition Republican was replaced with one who parroted Trump's election lies.
The Detroit News reported in October that Republicans had replaced their members on canvassers in eight of Michigan's 11 most populous counties.
If the boards of canvassers don't certify the election, they can be sued and forced to do so. The process could cause chaos and be used as a cry for help in election disputes.
Mark Brewer, an election lawyer and former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, said that they were laying the groundwork for a slow-motion insurrection.
The movement to cast doubt on the 2020 election has turned their attention to changing the people who were in positions of authority and protected 2020.
Trump received a redistribution.
That also includes Benson.
A number of Republicans have lined up to challenge her, including a community college professor who claimed that the Jan. 6 attackers were anti-fascists trying to frame Trump supporters.
Trump wants to replace statewide officials who stood in his way with his allies.
Trump told The Associated Press that the secretary of states did not do the right thing for the American people.
In Georgia, the former president is backing Jody Hice, who is running against the Republican Secretary of State. Trump asked for enough votes to be declared the winner.
Perdue was encouraged by Trump to challenge Kemp in the GOP primary. Kemp turned down Trump's request to win the election.
Shepherd stepped down as chair after the group censured Kemp. It is shortsighted. Shepherd said in an interview that they weren't thinking about the effects down the line. Brian Kemp followed the law and they want his pound of flesh.
Jim Marchant, a former GOP state lawmaker now running to be secretary of state, was one of the people who had lawsuits thrown out. Barbara Cegavske, the current Republican secretary of state, found no significant fraud in the contest.
Marchant was endorsed by Trump in his unsuccessful bid for Congress, but he is not just seeking to become a Trump idiocy. Marchant said that he had been fighting this since before Trump came along. We want fair and transparent elections.
The Republican state senator who organized buses of Trump supporters for the president's rally near the White House has signaled he's running for governor. In Arizona, state Rep. Mark Finchem's bid to be secretary of state has unnerved many Republicans because he hosted a daylong hearing in 2000 that featured Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani. Lake is running to succeed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who stood up to Trump's election-year pressure and is barred from another term.
Stephen Richer, the Auditor in Arizona, started a political committee to give financial support to Republicans who tell the truth about the election. The myth of a stolen election within his party's base is realistic.
Richer said that the incentive structure seems to be in favor of doing the wrong thing.
There are high stakes races for governor.
In Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Democratic governors have been a problem for the GOP. Democrats argue that the new rules are meant to make it harder for people of color to vote.
The appointment of Electoral College members can be done by the governors who certify the winners in their states. If Trump were to win the GOP nomination, the governors of Trump friendly states would be able to certify him as the winner of their state's electoral votes.
Some Republicans argue that the state legislature can name their own electors even if the vote tally says otherwise.
The Democrats have not been able to lay out the stakes in these races. It's difficult for voters to believe that the system is safe, said Daniel Squadron of The States Project.
Those who think the 2020 election was stolen are the most motivated voters. Any core American value system that any of us have lived through has to be taken a leap of faith in acknowledging this is afoot.