Mercifully, the January 6th committee hearings in congress were canceled yesterday, presumably because Hurricane Ian’s landfall would have botched ratings. With midterms approaching, Democrats have a lot riding on January 6th and are growing impatient. New York congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who runs the party’s campaign arm, even grumbled about a lack of indictments.
“I think it’s going to be very hard for people to understand if there aren’t actions by the Justice Department to hold people accountable,” he said.
As with Ukrainegate and impeachment, and Russiagate before that, polls show January 6th remains low on the list of voter concerns (the cratering economy is first). However, the reason it “may be hard for people to understand,” as Maloney says, is that congress has spent too much time blurring lines between election denial and conspiracy to overturn the result. If they just focused on the latter — and they have produced evidence, like Trump asking Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to seize voting machines — the hearings might be more effective, even with Republicans.
But they haven’t been, for a reason made obvious by Matt Orfalea’s damning video — which YouTube incredibly has already demonetized — above. Amid sweeping efforts to punish election denial in the Trump context, both criminally and with censorship, an almost exactly similar denial campaign that inspired four-plus years of blue politics has been dropped down a memory hole.
Led by the losing candidate in 2016, Democratic Party politicians along with law enforcement and intelligence officials and media spent years denying the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, based on an equally specious/dishonest formulation: “The election was hacked.” Moreover, they instigated removal efforts based on the same declare-guilt-now, prove-it-later mentality that gripped figures like Trump and Rudy Giuliani in 2020. How different really is “Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me” from “We just have to dig deeper, do the investigation and find it”?
The January 6th hearings ironically are an outgrowth of the Democrats’ own six-year-long election denial endeavor, involving the same people who pushed attempts to remove Trump based on manufactured theories of foreign collusion. There’s an automatic Boy Who Cried Wolf factor built in to hearings that include the likes of California’s Adam Schiff (“I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now”) or Maryland’s Jamie Raskin (“Donald Trump is the hoax perpetrated on the Americans by the Russians”).
Moreover, congressional Democrats’ successful push for censorship on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — a campaign that began even before January 6th — reveal that the party considers the act of denial itself illegitimate and ban-worthy, if not criminal. But how can that be if, as the video shows, the party’s own leaders engage in the same behavior? How can declaring the 2020 election illegitimate be prohibited, if saying the same thing about 2016 was and is encouraged?
The two stories obviously aren’t the same. But they’re a lot closer than we’ve been led to believe: