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BENNIE THOMPSON: Do you swear or affirm on the penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to give is the fact, the entire fact, and very little but the reality, so enable you God?


To this place, most of the witnesses testifying at the hearings into the January 6 mob assault on the Capitol have been White Dwelling insiders describing what they noticed and read as the previous president experimented with to hold on to electricity. But final Tuesday was various.


LIZ CHENEY: When you listened to from President Trump that the election was stolen, how did that make you truly feel?

STEPHEN AYRES: Oh, I was – you know, I was extremely upset, as were most of his supporters. You know, that’s fundamentally what bought me to arrive down here.

MARTIN: Stephen Ayres testified that he arrived to Washington, D.C., on January 6 simply because previous President Trump advised his followers to come. Ayres claimed he created his way to the Capitol and joined other people in storming the building for the reason that the previous president told supporters like him that it was up to them to, quotation-unquote, “prevent the steal.” He suggests he regrets it now.


AYRES: Individuals dive into the politics. And for me, I felt like I had, you know, like, horse blinders on. I was locked in the complete time. Most significant issue for me is get the blinders off. Make confident you stage back and see what is actually likely on just before it really is much too late.

MARTIN: Since he was arrested and charged for his job in the coup attempt, Ayres states he is altered.


CHENEY: And do you nonetheless believe that the election was stolen?

AYRES: Not so considerably now. I obtained absent from all the social media when January 6 took place. I in essence deleted it all.

MARTIN: What may well yet occur from the January 6 hearings, irrespective of whether felony prosecutions or merely a entire historical accounting, is nonetheless to be made a decision. But a person point that has been manufactured abundantly apparent is that a lot of People in america are bitterly divided by their politics, primarily their political social gathering. And some people today are so deeply entrenched in their relationship with their party, they are ready to do just about anything to enable their partisans get or hold electric power. Those beliefs may be lies. They may well be wrapped up in feelings of remaining dismissed or dismissed or of superiority – of becoming section of a thing that many others just will not get. So for a legitimate believer like Ayres to publicly accept that he was improper – which is unanticipated.

LILLIANA MASON: Trump is seriously stoking these tips of no make any difference what any one else tells you, I am telling you you are a winner. And that feels excellent, suitable? Which is just, like, the most primitive human instincts is to observe the superior thoughts, not the terrible feelings.

MARTIN: Professor Lilliana Mason reports the partisan divide and states people’s political beliefs can become so fused with how they see themselves in the globe that breaking with a celebration or get together line can really sense like the reduction of self.

MASON: That is a devastating psychological damage, and persons are likely to respond to that with a great deal of not only anger but genuinely defensive mechanisms.

MARTIN: Look at THIS – it is really not information that there are deep divisions concerning Democrats and Republicans, but can the hearings into January 6 assist restore the breach by helping the country renew its shared motivation to democratic rules and displaying the outcomes if it would not? What would make a change? That is coming up. From NPR, I’m Michel Martin. It’s Saturday, July 16.


MARTIN: It can be Take into account THIS from NPR.

DIDI KUO: Even when I initially began doing work at the Heart on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Regulation, we ended up seriously anxious with how democratization can successfully acquire place in nations that have not had a extensive historical past of democracy.

MARTIN: Didi Kuo is affiliate director for exploration at Stanford University’s Middle on Democracy, Advancement and the Rule of Legislation. When she started doing the job there, she essentially figured a great deal of the emphasis would be on international nations around the world.

KUO: And the form of performing assumption in a large amount of the scholarship is that the U.S. is the most longstanding democracy, that we’ve solved a whole lot of the difficulties related to democratization that we have. Yeah, there are some challenges below and there, but we can function inside a normal coverage framework to tackle them. I believe it was definitely just after the election of Donald Trump and the sort of resurgent proper close to the globe that scholars of, you know, other democracies definitely begun to seem at the U.S.

MARTIN: I questioned Didi Kuo how America obtained to this place. How did Us citizens come to be so divided, specifically by political social gathering?

So, you know, every single other working day would seem to convey some new examine or study or details point that exhibits that Americans are so deeply divided by political functions, deeply divided as they’ve at any time been. They don’t even like customers of the other bash. They never want their youngsters to marry any person who isn’t going to belong to the exact political bash. I was thinking, just to start with, was it often that way? Did political get together loom so massive in people’s perception of by themselves?

KUO: So political polarization has been on the increase for about four many years now in the United States, and there are numerous different will cause of polarization. Some of them have to do with voting patterns. For illustration, Southern Democrats, who were rather conservative, have shifted toward the Republican Party since the 1980s or so. Then in 1994, when Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution ended up equipped to retake – in what is known as a Republican revolution, sorry – had been capable to retake the Property of Associates and Congress, you know, for 50 decades, there had been steady Democratic majorities in the Home of Congress. And due to the fact the ’90s, you will find been a lot additional levels of competition above the Dwelling greater part. That has also furthered polarization. And there are other matters that we could get into – for example, marketing campaign finance and also the info setting, all of which lead to much more polarization between the get-togethers.

MARTIN: People have fairly strong divisions in this country, surely above race. I imply, individuals – you know, race has loomed so big in this state, you know, to the stage wherever men and women would disown their little ones for marrying an individual of a distinct race or a different faith. Has political get together changed people identity markers in some way? I suggest, it sounds probably like a preposterous concern, but has it?

KUO: No, that’s basically a fantastic query. There is certainly investigation showing that as we have progressed as a society – this is most likely heartening – you know, you cannot explicitly discriminate towards men and women centered on their being racially distinctive than you or acquiring a distinct religion than you. In reality, men and women have grow to be a ton more tolerant on a ton of all those metrics. But it is also genuine that bash has now grow to be a to some degree appropriate substitute for individuals sorts of social cleavages and social identities. A get together label provides you an straightforward heuristic, almost certainly, about what someone’s values are or what their political leanings are, for absolutely sure. But you are not essentially saying you disagree with them simply because they have a racial or ethnic change or a spiritual big difference. Viewing that it truly is dependent on partisan identification is however suitable in techniques that individuals former divisions primarily based on social id are not.

MARTIN: Is it your check out that political occasion has in some means develop into a proxy for all those other divisions? Or is it its personal matter?

KUO: The exploration so significantly is mixed. It is really not always the circumstance that we all really dislike each other, and now we’ve just discovered an acceptable way to label it. In other terms, there appears to be to be proof that partisan hostility is distinctive and unique. But there is also been an interesting pattern that deepening polarization in the United States has actually alienated quite a few voters, even individuals who ascribe to a partisan identification. So the selection of independents has risen sharply over the past few decades as polarization has widened. Now, a plurality of voters, between 40 and 50% of voters establish as independents. And the fascinating matter is that independents might nevertheless vote for a political party on Election Day, but they have a tendency to have very various political beliefs. You can find evidence indicating that they are a lot more cynical about politics in general. That they imagine that elected officers are corrupt, that their vote would not really make a difference, and that they are considerably less very likely to take part in politics.

On the other hand, you will find proof demonstrating that folks who self-detect as a partisan, in particular if they do things like give income to a celebration or vote in a main election – which quite number of People in america do, turnout charges in major elections are pretty minimal – they are inclined to be more ideologically intense than the regular voter. So you get this development the place the party is significantly driven by kind of additional ideological voters inside the celebration. And that has the effect of alienating individuals who don’t really feel like they have a household within just either party.

MARTIN: So let’s just say the mob attack on the Capitol is sort of an intense version of that. Are we viewing true-entire world impacts of this variety of polarization in other ways?

KUO: Sure. And I would distinguish involving partisan polarization, which is having impacts. For case in point, you will find the statistic you talked about ideal at the top that individuals are more and more stating they wouldn’t want their kids to marry a member of a diverse party. That is a sort of hostility or bias that you would not be expecting a technology back, for example. And you can find some experimental proof demonstrating that people today may possibly exhibit partisan biases in selecting persons for work opportunities, in selecting their buddy groups. You know, individuals are now a lot more very likely to socialize with other folks who have incredibly related political viewpoints to them. You can find also outcomes on data. You can now a lot more easily come across information that agrees with your worldview and kind of silo yourself because of social media and the broad array of diverse choices out there to men and women to give news, for example.

But I want to distinguish partisan polarization, which is problematic plenty of, from a trend that is explicitly anti-democratic. What we noticed transpire on January 6 and the sorts of approaches that Donald Trump was pursuing to continue to be in office environment have genuinely absolutely nothing to do with polarization. It truly is not, you know, the mainstream ideal getting a small little bit extra conservative. It can be as a substitute some thing that we have observed take place exterior the United States, which is that leaders are elected through a democratic method, but then the moment they are elected, they do what they can to manipulate the principles and to centralize electric power in the Office of the Executive in methods that really undermine democracy.

To me, what’s actually dangerous about Donald Trump and January 6 is not essentially what occurred on that day, inspite of the fact that it is horrifying – and I consider that the committee has done a genuinely excellent career reminding us of every little thing that was at stake that day. But it truly is also that there are Republican candidates suitable now successful primaries who are functioning on the massive lie. There are condition legislatures that are making an attempt to politicize the administration of elections. And these are the varieties of things that are real warning indicators for democracy by itself and go far over and above polarization.

MARTIN: Coming up, what will the January 6 hearings want to do to modify hearts and minds?


MARTIN: So let’s go back to Stephen Ayres. He was a single of two individuals who testified prior to the January 6 investigative committee. What did you make of it? I signify, of course, I never know that he experienced to testify. The truth is, he was arrested. The reality is that he is amongst the 800 individuals who are previously remaining held to account by the felony justice procedure for what they did. I am curious, like, what you believed of his complete – his tale, what brought him there. What did you see in it? What did you make of it?

KUO: You might be definitely ideal that it was genuinely unique to have Stephen Ayres and Jason Van Tatenhove, the former Oath Keeper, testify as to their possess knowledge due to the fact it was so particular. I feel Stephen Ayres – that he described obtaining horse blinders on for the reason that he was so deeply entrenched in a globe of social media that he wasn’t able to see any other proof to the contrary of the large lie. And he also felt that there was a perception of goal, that the president had summoned his followers to Washington, D.C., to enable carry out this coup. Jason Van Tatenhove later on explained, you know, there is no discussion in his head that this was an arranged insurrection attempt. So it – to see them be able to disavow the beliefs that they once held, to say that, you know, we’ve absent way too far, this is a obvious line in the sand for democracy, I consider it really is seriously highly effective because we could discussion what are the ideal policies or even no matter if or not polarization is, you know, undesirable or not. But I think that genuinely what the hearings are displaying is there are dazzling-traces and we simply cannot cross them. Even if we entirely disagree with a person a different politically, we will need the peaceful transfer of electrical power. We require presidents to acknowledge the final results of elections.

And I am hoping that at the incredibly least, the big takeaway from the hearings among the all political stripes is that there are strains we will just not cross in American democracy. And listening to – you know, Stephen Ayres didn’t say I’m progressive now. He just mentioned, I cannot assist the huge lie. And these actions created me go off the deep conclusion, shed my career, drop my house. There are authentic-everyday living consequences to radicalization, and I believe it is been ideally enlightening for persons who experience, you know, a tiny persuaded by the significant lie. A whole lot of Republican voters, for example, hopefully it is somewhat enlightening.

MARTIN: Perfectly – but to that conclude, though, you’re expressing hopefully. And I’m inquiring will it? Simply because a single point that I do not feel you can steer clear of noticing at this issue is that the conservative media and many Republican politicians, such as many nominees for workplace in this cycle, are possibly disregarding or belittling the proceedings. How do you say to people today, very well, that system is unfair? Or this spate of regulations sweeping quite a few states that make it far more complicated for selected individuals to vote, how do you say to persons, you know what, that method is unfair and harmful, even if it can be doing the job in your favor and you like the end result.

KUO: I consider there was a large amount of problems performed by the Trump presidency that will take a incredibly lengthy time to undo. In the pretty short expression, there is certainly polling indicating that Democrats are not truly currently being persuaded by these hearings. You know, they have been most likely to make a link amongst President Trump and January 6, and they have just experienced that perception strengthened. But there is certainly a good deal of motion amongst independents, like double-digit movement, in believing the big lie and then not believing it or in pondering that President Trump is individually liable. Now, between Republican voters, there is even now – I think mind-boggling the vast majority continue to assume that Biden was unfairly elected. They imagine that at the very the very least, there was some sort of election irregularity, if not the outright significant lie.

But I consider that there are a couple things that will take place that are hopefully signals to be optimistic. A single is that it really is heading to be much more and far more challenging for the Republican Occasion to get behind a Trump nomination in 2024 if there is so considerably proof, irrespective of what occurs on the legal facet. You know, if the Section of Justice decides to pursue actual authorized proceedings against Donald Trump or not, I believe that there is ample proof that even mainstream leaders of the Republican Bash will come to feel snug saying Donald Trump can not be the future commander in chief of the United States and he can’t acquire the nomination of this occasion. That may just be optimism on my element, but I believe that that would be a challenging position for the Republicans to be in.

Next of all, at the state stage, the January 6 hearings have been wrapped up every one time in the concluding remarks with, like, a civics lesson, some thing about a statement about what democracy is, what our values are, what our principles are and what our tolerances are for the program. You know, like What can we withstand and what can we not endure? And Liz Cheney, I imagine in the extremely to start with listening to, the a single that was on prime time, said the Trump era will finish and all these Republican officers are going to have to decide where they want to stand in the background books. I think, at the very the very least, this is a kind of real truth telling, point obtaining. And men and women will be questioned to take a side in imagining about the form of, like, prolonged-phrase trajectory of the two their reputations and the longevity of the party alone, the Republican Celebration. At the condition amount, it’s heading to consider additional of a civics lesson to try to acquire messaging close to the problematic state guidelines and the likely for democratic subversion. I do think that there is the prospective for that messaging to ultimately resonate, but that, again, it truly is going to take time to kind of what social actions contact, like, a consciousness boosting to make it apparent to every day People that election administration is one thing you must treatment about.

MARTIN: That was Didi Kuo. She is the senior analysis scholar and affiliate director for research at Stanford University’s Heart on Democracy, Progress and the Rule of Regulation. It can be Look at THIS from NPR. I am Michel Martin.

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