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Capitol riot prompts halt in corporate political gifts. Punishment, tactic or turning point?

Democracy reformers are seeing one of their most ardent longings realized, albeit perhaps only temporarily and for truly extraordinary reasons:

The gusher of money that's steered American politics for so long has abruptly slowed this week. Two huge banks, a rasher of prominent companies and many lobbyists have all suspended campaign giving.

A few have done so across the board, spooked at how last week's insurrection at the Capitol has propelled democracy's distress to a new nadir. But most say they are closing their checkbooks only to those Republicans who countenanced the rebellion with their votes to overturn the presidential election.

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President Trump spoke to tens of thousands of his supporters near the White House on Wednesday.

President exhorts outcry against a democracy proving resilient to his attacks

As the most stressed-out election since the Civil War's aftermath comes to an end, this is what democracy looks like:

It may be the middle of the night when the last fruitless protest plays out at the Capitol, but the outcome of the Electoral College count will be clear and decisive and just what the Constitution calls for: Joe Biden's presidential victory will be affirmed without being sullied or discredited.

Georgia, long the centerpiece of a Jim Crow South where voter suppression was the norm, has elected its first Black senator and is on the cusp of delivering to the new president a Congress controlled by his allies — following Senate runoffs marked by enormous turnout along with newfound and essentially complete credibility.

And the titular leader of the American democratic republic for another two weeks, Donald John Trump, is devoting all his waning presidential power to discrediting those twin victories for a resilient system — and exhorting throngs of loyalists, deluded by his incessant but baseless claims of voting fraud, to join in the sedition.

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Megan Varner

Vice President Pence has tried, unsuccessfully, to explain his role in counting the electoral votes to President Trump.

Trump puts fresh pressure on Pence to break the rules and upend the election

President Trump on Tuesday ratcheted up the pressure on Vice President Pence to join in his unprecedented plot to so discredit democracy that they purloin themselves a second term.

Pence continued to remain quiet and out of sight, a day ahead of the joint session of Congress to formally tabulate the 306 legally certified electoral votes making Joe Biden the 46th president and Kamala Harris the 49th vice president. Pence is supposed to preside in his role as president of the Senate and his office made definitive only Tuesday morning that he will show up at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump declared falsely on Tuesday, magnifying on Twitter the wholly incorrect belief that Pence can wield his gavel at will to overturn the results of the election.

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