Donovan Crowl was painted as a pro-Trump extremist. An ex-Marine, he’s been charged for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot along with two other members of the Oath Keepers, a militia group that recruits veterans and first responders.
Yet, he couldn’t be bothered to vote for President Donald Trump in November — or anyone else, for that matter. His case highlights an important point about those accused.
According to CNN, the 50-year-old Crowl is one of a number of those arrested for their role in the Capitol incursion who didn’t cast a ballot last year. There were even others who were registered as Democrats.
Here’s CNN’s reporting from Monday: “Many involved in the insurrection professed to be motivated by patriotism, falsely declaring that Trump was the rightful winner of the election. Yet at least eight of the people who are now facing criminal charges for their involvement in the events at the Capitol did not vote in the November 2020 presidential election, according to an analysis of voting records from the states where protestors were arrested and those states where public records show they have lived. They came from states around the country and ranged in age from 21 to 65.
“To determine who voted in November, CNN obtained voting records for more than 80 of the initial arrestees. Most voted in the presidential election, and while many were registered Republicans, a handful were registered as Democrats in those jurisdictions that provided party information — though who someone votes for is not publicly disclosed.”
Of the “more than 80 of the initial arrestees” that CNN examined, at least eight of them — roughly 10 percent — didn’t cast a ballot.
What’s interesting, too, is the description of some of the rioters:
“Among those who didn’t vote were a 65-year-old Georgia man who, according to government documents, was found in his van with a fully-loaded pistol and ammunition, and a Louisiana man who publicly bragged about spending nearly two hours inside the Capitol after attending Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ rally,” CNN reported.
“Another was a 21-year-old woman from Missouri who prosecutors say shared a video on Snapchat that showed her parading around with a piece of a wooden sign from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. And a Florida man previously convicted of attempted murder who was accused by the government of refusing to leave the Capitol likely did not have the option to cast a ballot because of his unpaid court fines.”
And yes, there were rabid, nonsensical Trump supporters, ones the former president wouldn’t have encouraged.
Take Jack Griffith, a 25-year-old Tennessee resident charged for breaking into the Capitol. Court documents cited by CNN say that he posted “THE CAVALRY IS COMING!!!!” with the hashtag “#MAGA” upon his arrival in Washington, D.C. However, he was disillusioned after the incursion was over.
“I hate to be that guy, but The New World Order beat us,” he wrote on social media, according to CNN. “Trump was our greatest champion, and it still wasn’t enough. He tried his very best. He did so much, but he’s only one man…I even helped stormed(sic) the capitol today, but it only made things worse…Why, God? Why? WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN US? Unless…Trump still has a plan?”
Charming individuals, all. CNN asked Jessica Stern, a Boston University professor who specializes in researching extremist movements, what might attract potential participants to an event like the Capitol incursion.
Stern told the network that “while she hasn’t spoken with the individuals involved in the events at the Capitol, from her interviews with other violent extremists, she believes a number of factors could have been at play,” CNN reported:
“They could have believed the system was rigged, as the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement claims, in which case there would be no point in voting. They could be more attracted to the theater, violence or attention they would get from a demonstration like the one at the Capitol than to actually achieving their purported goal — in this case, different election results.”
As for the non-voters, Stern told CNN that “you would have to believe in the ethic of voting more than you thought it was a waste of time … and see it as a moral imperative. You have to believe the system works for everyone, that it’s for the good of the country.”
Here’s what’s clear about this motley crew: This is not the kind of person anyone in the Republican Party was actively encouraging to riot. This includes the former president, whose speech before the Capitol incursion specifically told the crowd to “peacefully and patriotically” march to the Capitol.
And yet, we have people like MSNBC”s Joe Scarborough blaming Senate Republicans for wanting to move on from placing blame on a political party, saying that these were “Trump terrorists” egged on by the GOP:
.@JoeNBC slams Republicans in the Senate who want Americans to “forget” about the Capitol attack.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 27, 2021
Bill Kristol was the founder of The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication that started publishing in 1995 but became best known for its stridently anti-Trump content. After it closed in 2018, due to declining readership, he started the Defending Democracy Together Institute, which is easily a close second to the Lincoln Project in the NeverTrumper universe.
Here’s one of the billboards from Kristol’s Republican Accountability Project, which encourages elected officials who challenged the presidential vote to resign — in this case, North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn:
“Billboards from @AccountableGOP have gone up in NC calling on two Republicans to resign from the House in the aftermath of Jan. 6. ‘You lied about the election. The Capitol was attacked. Cawthorn: Resign,’ the billboards read in Cawthorn’s district.”https://t.co/Z49ZPHxvmq
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 29, 2021
And here’s Hillary Clinton, because why not:
Three weeks ago, Donald Trump incited a violent mob to attack Congress and stop the peaceful transition of power.
Five people died, including a Capitol policeman.
Yesterday, all but five GOP senators voted for Trump to get away with it.https://t.co/qUP7dULfV0
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 27, 2021
Yes, most of the people who stormed the Capitol were likely registered Republicans — but not all. Their ties to the GOP end there. Furthermore, the Department of Justice is now looking at conspiracy charges, including against Donovan Crowl, who they say was planning with his fellow Oath Keepers way back in November.
There were also those registered Democrats that even CNN acknowledged. That makes Republican incitement an extremely difficult thing to prove.
Tying this to Republicans may make for good politics, but it’s merely keeping a fresh wound open for electoral gain at the expense of exposing the nation to more pain and recrimination.
If these people are guilty as charged, they’re neither Republican nor Democrat. They’re degenerates, people who were merely thrill-seekers, crazies, thugs and conspiracy-theory fantasts.
Trying to pin their crimes on those who legally mounted challenges to the electoral vote, including former President Trump, is both disingenuous and divisive.
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