(WHTM) — The Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the United State Capitol was an ugly scene that fueled and started the fire of the claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
The fire was fanned by plenty of elected officials who pushed that narrative, but a new group is trying to avoid a repeat as they fight misinformation with information about how the electoral process works. Now, they have 18 months to get it done.
A group named Keep Our Republic is focusing on battleground states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — to raise voter awareness.
“There’s a brush fire in the body politic over the last few years. It’s gotten incredibly hot in our country,” said Ari Mittleman, executive director of Keep Our Republic. “God forbid, but I think a few sparks could create a five-alarm fire.”
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Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) joined a bipartisan group of Pennsylvanians that hope to educate voters about the process of elections.
“We’re a country of laws and I believe in the rule of law,” Corbett said. “Unfortunately, in this day and age the louder you say it, and the more you say it, the truth gets lost.”
Former Democratic majority leader Dick Gephardt says social media, which lets anyone say anything from anywhere, is fueling the problem.
“There’s no way to know even if the poster is a real human being is it a robot and is there any truth in what they are saying,” Gephardt said.
Elected officials who knowingly spread misinformation are also culpable. Trump continues to insist the 2020 election was rigged and stolen.
The Keep Our Republic panelists wouldn’t name the former president or Republican congressmen and state lawmakers who objected to its certification, but did say this:
“Citizens look to leaders to influence their beliefs and behavior. And I think we’ve reached a really dark and dangerous place,” said John Jones, Dickinson College President.
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Until 2024, the group plans to call out misinformation and fight it with information to average citizens.
“We have to understand how our elections work and if we don’t understand it that’s when we’re subject to misinformation,” said Velma Redmond of the Keep Our Republic advisory board.
Jones said respected elected officials who stayed silent in 2020, knowing the narrative was wrong, but fearing political fallout was another problem.
“If this wildfire starts again that calls into question the results of the election, it is so destabilizing it can harm the republic,” Jones said.
Keep Our Republic got its name from a Benjamin Franklin quote which said you have a republic if you can keep it.