Republicans, Democrats dismiss impact Jan. 6 could have on midterms: ‘It’s the economy stupid’
A number of Democrats and Republicans have resoundingly dismissed the idea that Jan. 6 investigation and hearings will have a significant impact the midterm elections.
In exclusive interviews with Fox News Digital, multiple Democratic strategists, as well as Democratic and Republican members of Congress, expelled the notion that voters on either end of the political spectrum might be more motivated to vote as a result of the Jan. 6 Committee’s actions, and instead pointed to “much bigger” issues, such as the economy, which they say will be a larger factor come November.
“The January 6th commission is very important for history and protecting our democracy, but we can’t ignore the bread and butter economic issues,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said. “What will win Democrats votes is an economic vision of revitalization and job creation.”
The Jan. 6 Committee, made up of 7 Democrats and 2 Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., held its first public hearing late Thursday evening as part of its investigation into what led to the Jan. 6 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at a climate rally with presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Rashida Tlaib in Iowa City, Iowa, U.S. January 12, 2020.
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The hearing is expected to be just one of several televised hearings from the committee, with the next already announced for Monday and Wednesday next week, that they’re expected to use in an attempt to capture Americans’ attention before the midterms.
Khanna’s sentiment was echoed by Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov.
“I don’t think that it’s going to have that much of an impact on the midterms considering how important inflation, gas prices, and the economy are,” she said when asked how she thought the ongoing hearings by the Jan. 6 Committee could affect voters’ decisions at the ballot box.
“It’s the economy, stupid. Carville’s always right,” she added, referencing a phrase coined in 1992 by veteran Democratic strategist James Carville.
Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov.
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“January 6th is not going to be number one on the hit parade,” Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Leslie Marshall said. “I don’t think it’s going to affect voters.”
She added that “much bigger” issues for voters would be the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, and the debate revolving around guns following the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas last month that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Both Marshall and Tarlov predicted it was “very likely” Republicans would win control of the House of Representatives in November, but split on what that meant for the committee’s investigation itself.
Tarlov expressed confidence the committee would have its work complete by November, but Marshall suggested the investigation, if not yet complete, “wouldn’t continue” once the House came under Republican control.
Leslie Marshall, Democrat strategist and Fox News contributor
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Despite the gloomy outlook for Democrats’ election chances, they each praised the work the committee was doing in conducting the investigation.
“The responsibility of the committee is to show the American people what their findings are,” Marshall said. “That’s very important for the American people to know the lengths that people went to try and overthrow a free and fair election.”
“I think the American people need to have the knowledge whether they vote or not, and they should vote,” she added.
Tarlov said the committee “serves a purpose,” and that Jan. 6 itself was “a stark reminder of where the Republican Party is today.”
“It’s not going to be what’s getting people to the polls,” she added, noting, like Marshall, that Roe v. Wade and guns were “going to be bigger motivators” than the Jan. 6 hearings.
Rep. Mo Brooks speaks to supporters at his watch party for the Republican nomination for U.S. senator of Alabama at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Huntsville, Ala.
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
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Republicans agreed that other issues, particularly the economy, would take center-stage in November, but took a more negative view of the committee itself.
“The socialist Democrats are going to use the witch hunt propaganda committee as best they can to help them and hurt Republicans in the November elections, but I do not believe they’ll be successful,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who spoke at Trump’s rally outside the White House on Jan. 6.
Brooks, who is running to fill retiring Sen. Richard Shelby’s, R-Ala., Senate seat and has not yet complied with a subpoena to appear before the committee, argued that the committee’s work amounted to “a propaganda effort,” and was “akin to the Russian collusion hoax.”
Agreeing with Tarlov and Marshall, Brooks predicted voters care more about high gas prices, inflation, and the potential for a recession than they do about Jan. 6.
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., argued that Washington, D.C.’s focus on Jan. 6, rather than issues affecting Americans in their everyday lives, could actually drive voters towards Republicans.
“If you’re anybody last night, you’re coming home from work, you just put a Benjamin in your gas tank, you’re spending $300 to $400 more dollars a week on groceries, and you flip on your TV and Washington, D.C. isn’t working on fixing those problems,” he said. “They’re doing a paid political advertisement on ABC and CBS … That’s literally all it was.”
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on the eviction of Congressional offices from Veterans Affairs Department facilities on Friday, September 20, 2019.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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Mast described the committee as “a distraction, a misdirection, and a sleight of hand,” before predicting Republicans would win the midterms and stop the “inherently unjust process” of the committee.
“When in Washington do we ever do a hearing at 8:00 p.m.?” he said, mocking what appeared to be the committee’s intentional attempt to have their hearing aired on primetime television.
“Americans look at this and say, ‘What are you doing Washington? I’m having to alter what I eat for dinner. I’m having to alter my driving habits.… Because of the way this administration broke America and broke my bank account. The result of this is you’re not paying attention to what’s affecting my life. I’m voting for Republicans,'” he added.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.