Liz Cheney and two men at the January 6th hearings in Washingon DC

The January 6th Scam

Democrats are using the hearings investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol as one long campaign commercial. They believe that saying the name Trump often enough will inspire disappointed and angry people to vote for them despite their lies and failures.

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is a mouthful of a name, and the lengthy moniker is an indication of its lack of any honest intent. The January 6th hearings preach to the democrats’ choir, divert attention from the country’s most pressing needs, and keep the name Donald Trump in the public collective consciousness for the most cynical of reasons.

Although the hearings do have some benefit for the left. Primarily they expose liberals’ treachery and lack of anything resembling the political ideology they imagine for themselves. When they aren’t hyperventilating about what Trump said to Vice President Pence, or that his daughter didn’t know what Trump was thinking or other such nonsense, they find a way to praise conservatives. Liberal pundits like Robert Reich openly support a Senator Liz Cheney presidential campaign. “All of America needs her to run for president in the Republican primaries for the 2024 election.” It is odd that democrats would concern themselves with who would run in the party that is allegedly their opposition, but this foolishness is not even the worst reason to look askance at this entire exercise.

The democrats have no case to make with voters except what worked in 2020, Trump, Trump, Trump and then again Trump. Their answer to rising prices for gas and food are boiled down to, “Putin’s price hike.” They have no intention of making good on promises to raise the minimum wage, provide Build Back Better, or student loan debt relief. Free school lunches for all recently disappeared, just like the Child Tax Credit which propagandists used to claim that Biden had cut child poverty in half or frame him as the most progressive president since FDR. They hope the name Putin and the words January 6th will create amnesia.

The Trumpers “attack” on the Capitol did shock Americans, who hold their government in great awe and treat structures like the Capitol with reverence. Seeing the great unwashed MAGA hat wearers breaking down the doors created great consternation. Of course, the government they exalt does a lot worse elsewhere, as they utilize proxy wars, coups, sanctions, and invasions to subvert governments all over the world. But American exceptionalism prevents such analysis from taking place.

While the dog and pony show goes on, there doesn’t seem to be much effort to protect votes around the country. While Trump acolytes go from state to state and make it easier to nullify votes or fire election officials, bloviating liberals swoon at the sight of Liz Cheney. The Voting Rights Act is just one more casualty of democratic party indifference.

Instead of making their case to voters, democrats have ginned up so much anger that apparently most Americans want Trump to be charged with something, anything to punish him for despoiling their vision of themselves by getting elected in the first place, and then having his people defile the Capitol. It isn’t clear what any charge would be and Congress can only refer charges to the Justice Department. If the Attorney General is smart he’ll leave it alone. Despite what democrats dream about, charging a former president with a crime is a tall order, and in this case would energize the very people who have created so much angst, and thus make it easier to put Trump in the white house again.

There really isn’t a lot to say about what happened on January 6, 2021. Trump riled up his supporters to either stop the electoral college certification or just to yank the establishment’s chain. There was no threat to what most Americans think of as democracy and no path for a government to be overthrown even if that is what the mob wanted to achieve. Mostly they were motivated by racism, a white mob in the classic American sense without any high minded thought about the electoral process. They didn’t want to believe that their guy lost, so they broke in and trashed the place. But that simple explanation isn’t very useful to people with ulterior motives who want to win while also stabbing voters in the back.

If progressives really want to learn something from January 6th they ought to ask themselves why the right are willing to travel across the country and break into the Capitol while they can’t get more than a handful of people to protest anything. Two years ago thousands of people protested after George Floyd was killed by the police. That effort ended when it was co-opted by the likes of Biden taking a knee and by the electoral process itself, which as usual killed off a nascent movement.

That is what the left should be asking and not concerning themselves with whomever the duopoly will choose in 2024. The January 6th protesters may be able to teach an important lesson about having the courage of one’s convictions. Of course their conviction was about one man and whether he would be in the white house or not and amounted to little else. Yet they managed to bring thousands of people together while progressives go along with increased defense budgets and never push back on any Biden policies.

The hearings are an exercise in misdirection. They can be valuable only if progressives refuse to be fooled and also start asking themselves hard questions. If Trumpers can gather to say that their president won despite all evidence to the contrary, then surely progressives can coalesce around the life and death issues that matter to millions of people.

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Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)