From here on out, we’re adding a piece of reporting to all our campaign coverage: Every Republican candidate we interview — for anything, from soil and water board to US Senate — must answer two questions:
1. Who won the 2020 presidential election? And
2. Do you think Trump bears responsibility for the insurrection carried out in his name?
We do it because we must.
These questions acknowledge that the Republican Party has been split in two, and one side is positioning itself as a domestic enemy of the United States.
This is what sedition looks like to me: To ignore the findings of our authorities and our courts. To thwart democracy by disregarding election results. To grant aid and succor to those who have taken arms against our government. To thwart, by means official and unofficial, the forward progress of our nation.
Everything changed after Jan. 6. That’s the day everyone on the right who thought they were patriots found out they were traitors. Criminals. Enemies of the state. And some of them still hold elected office.
Now, instead of avoiding our right-wing relatives at holidays and family gatherings, we’re wondering if we need to turn them in to the FBI. Now, we question whether our Republican friends believe in a deep-state pedophile ring. Now, we must ask if our GOP candidates believe the Big Lie, and if they are working in service to it.
We need to know. Now.
At least one Republican candidate we’ve interviewed so far does not like it, saying as much in an email that accused us of inciting divisiveness.
This much is true: We are looking to draw a dividing line between candidates who come in good faith and those who want to poison the system from within, those who inhabit the objective reality and those who deny facts, those who are loyal to the United States and those who are loyal to Trump, because you can’t be both.
And we need to know.