House Democrats lean into January 6-focused strategy ahead of midterms



The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rolled out a new splash page on its website Thursday featuring a banner declaring that “Republicans incited an insurrection” against the backdrop of pictures of the pro-Trump mob as they stormed the Capitol. The page also highlights the 139 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election, as well as GOP lawmakers and congressional candidates who may have promoted the “Stop the Steal” rally or movement.
That comes in addition to a new DCCC memo, obtained by CNN, vowing to remind voters that many Republicans not only fueled the effort to subvert democracy by embracing former President Donald Trump’s election lies, but spent the past year trying to downplay or dismiss the violent attack.

“Extremist House Republicans have only spread more lies to obstruct the truth about their role in January 6th, and have further welcomed violence into Congress by recruiting insurrectionists,” DCCC Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. “Their dangerous far-right extremism is at fault for this assault that nearly robbed us of our democracy, and Democrats will make sure voters know it.”

The effort comes at the beginning of what is expected to be a challenging election year for Democrats in both the House and Senate. Many in the party believe it’s imperative to continue highlighting the insurrection, framing it as an ongoing threat to democracy — especially as Republican-led states push for new voting restrictions. Democrats are also trying to use the January 6 anniversary to bring momentum to their stalled efforts to overhaul voting laws.
But some other Democrats, while they acknowledge the gravity of the deadly attack on the Capitol, think there should be a heavier emphasis on pocketbook issues and other concerns that impact the daily lives of Americans. They’re also skeptical that linking GOP candidates to Trump and the riots is a sufficient electoral strategy, pointing to the recent Democratic loss in the Virginia governor’s race.
Republicans, too, believe January 6 won’t ultimately matter in the midterms. Ahead of the one-year anniversary, GOP leaders have encouraged members to instead focus on the issues they believe will drive voter turnout in the November midterms, such as inflation, crime and school closures.

“Look at what people are focused on, it’s really focused on what impacts their family, inflation, their schools and public safety, stuff like that,” said Florida Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I think that’s what the election is going to be about.”

Asked if he believes the election will turn on voters’ feelings about January 6, Scott said: “No,” before adding, “Look, what happened was bad. I was here. It’s despicable that people would break into a Capitol.”

Democratic operatives say they can talk about both the economy and the insurrection, arguing it’s not an either-or proposition. They believe that yoking Republicans to January 6 is in fact harmful to the GOP in key suburban battleground districts, where moderate and independent voters have been turned off by Trump’s behavior. And even if it weren’t politically beneficial, Democrats argue they have an obligation to the country — and the constitution — to continue beating the January 6 drum.

“The stakes are clear — while Democrats fight for hardworking Americans and families, House Republicans are catering to extremists and insurrectionists and are too dangerous to be in charge of Washington,” the DCCC memo states. “Republicans’ far-right extremism and sinister politics has gone beyond divisive to downright dangerous, and there’s no way House Republicans can escape blame for their part in the January 6th attack.”

There are signs that Republicans see disadvantages to having the insurrection front and center, with most of the party planning a low-key approach to the anniversary.

Meanwhile, several top Democratic operatives are forming their own super PAC — dubbed “Stop Him Now” — which aims to tie Republican candidates to a potential Trump 2024 run. The group is launching on Thursday, with its first ad featuring footage of the riot.

“We were alarmed by the growing conventional wisdom in our party that we should stop talking about Trump — alarmed by that and what was happening to our country,” Mandy Grunwald, a longtime Democratic consultant involved in the effort, told CNN.

CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere contributed to this report.



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