Yesterday, the January 6 committee hearings became as compelling as the Watergate hearings. Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ assistant gave blockbuster testimony describing what happened at the Ellipse and White House on January 6. Cassidy Hutchinson described a president eager to go to the Capitol to support, if not lead, the protesters that were assaulting Congress. She gave a blow by blow of the people trying to get Trump to act. And she suggested that a lot of people in the White House knew that the goal of the rally was to try to stop the certification of votes—and they knew it before January 6. 

The January 6 hearings have been so successful because the committee has allowed witnesses to tell the story. And almost all of those witnesses have been Republicans, many of whom were Trump loyalists. Nobody can claim that Democrats are creating biased narratives because Democrats aren’t talking. The story unfolding is damning, but to too many Republicans, it might not matter. 

The Twitter account of the Republican House Judiciary Committee members routinely tries to discredit the January 6 committee. Yesterday, they implied that Hutchinson’s testimony wasn’t credible. Members of Trump’s inner circle were out to discredit her. The rank and file all called it hearsay. But for these Republicans, truth no longer matters. They just want power. 

And that’s not how most people see it. Even Republicans who have been skeptical that Trump would be held accountable believe Hutchinson’s testimony was damning. Conservative columnist John Podhoretz wrote in Commentary Magazine, “…[T]here’s no question now that Donald Trump is staring down the barrel of an indictment for seditious conspiracy against the government of the United States.” Brett Baier on Fox News called her testimony “compelling.”

So what might the political fallout be? Well, it could make the political environment a little better for Democrats. It certainly won’t change the minds of any Trump loyalists, but it might make conservative voters who aren’t Trumpists less likely to show up in a midterm. In 2018, a lot the conservative voters who put Trump into office stayed home on election day, either because they regretted their vote or because they were disengaged. The January 6 Committee is making clear that Trump and most of his inner circle had little regard for their constitutional obligations. To many moderate voters, Republicans who claim they adhere to the constitution look like hypocrites if they’re giving Trump and his cronies a pass. 

It’s probably too early to tell what impact the January 6 Committee will have, but they’ve successfully laid out a strong case against Trump and his administration with few people willing or able to credibly rebut it. And the problem the GOP’s got is that the people making the case against Trump are almost all fellow Republicans, including a number of Trumpists. Combined with more engaged younger women voters, the political environment is a bit better for Democrats right now than it was a month ago. If gas prices continue to fall, November could be more neutral than Republican-leaning. We’ve got a ways to go, though.


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