Democrats Shouldn’t Wait

July 7, 2021 4:43 p.m.

From TPM Reader JB

Nothing from the Wisconsin Republican delegation to Congress as yet on Ashli Babbitt or interfering with prosecution of January 6 insurrectionists. Sen. Ron Johnson’s Twitter account today, for example, rails about “the border,” health issues following Covid19 vaccinations, and climate change extremists.

I expect some reticence among other Republicans in politics about getting aboard this particular train of Trump’s, but Democrats shouldn’t wait for them to decide. Trump is preparing to hand Democrats a gift — an issue they can use without having to actually do anything themselves.

As you’ve pointed out, most Republicans want to re-run as much of the playbook from 2009-10 on Biden as they can. But if Trump insists on fighting over whether Trump supporters were right to ransack the US Capitol six months ago, Republicans won’t cross him and Democrats will be able to tar every Republican candidate as being pro-insurrection. This will be especially attractive as the Republicans who most want to get on the House Select Committee investigating January 6 actually are pro-insurrection.

Democrats have the advantage right now of holding popular positions on a large number of issues on which Republicans hold unpopular positions. They need to pass legislation to make use of that advantage with respect to most of these; for reasons good and bad, this isn’t easy. Democrats can have a fight with Republicans over whether Trump’s insurrection was a good thing without needing to pass any bills — really, except for the Democrats on the House Select Committee, without needing to do anything except make speeches. It will be like shooting into an empty net.

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