From January 6th to November 8th
By Leah Greenberg, Indivisible co-founder
I want to talk about January 6th, 2021 –- and what it means for November 8th, 2022.
There are lots of people covering every twist and turn of the January 6th Committee’s public hearings, and it’s now clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that on January 6th, we faced a staggering criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election that was orchestrated by Donald Trump and his loyalists in the White House. I’m not going to recap all the developments for you, but I do want to share a few reflections about the hearings and where we go from here.
What’s working about the hearings
We’re seeing polling data suggesting that the hearings are breaking through the noise. Since mid-June, support for uncovering what happened on January 6th has increased — including among Republicans. Recognition that the events of January 6th involved not only Trump but a broader group of Republican enablers has risen.
This was not a given! It’s incredibly hard to break through in a crowded media environment. But it does seem to be working.
Why? Because this is not your normal congressional hearing. It’s been constructed carefully, thoughtfully, and creatively to not just unearth information but to paint a picture of what really happened on January 6th. It’s accessible and engaging to a wider audience.
If you know Congress, you know that what we’ve seen over the last three weeks is a wild departure from your standard congressional hearing. MoCs generally view hearings as their own personal soapbox. They show up to speak, spend their allotted time lecturing the witnesses so that they can get their own thirty-second soundbite, and seem vaguely surprised when the witnesses say anything back. Generally speaking, the desire of every elected official to get their moment in the sun trumps the imperative to actually get answers out of the witness or to tell a collective story. Even really crucial hearings — the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, for example — largely fall victim to this dysfunctional dynamic. So it’s a huge credit to the January 6th committee that the events so far look nothing like this.
In short: creative and thoughtful storytelling is helping to ensure that the full scope of the criminal conspiracy to overturn our elections is laid out for the public — and that the public is listening.
That’s important because…
The criminal conspiracy that tried to violently overturn our elections on January 6th is ongoing.
The attack on the Capitol on January 6th may have ended in failure, but the attack on our freedom to vote has only begun — and it’s growing more powerful and more dangerous every day. Career elections administrators are being violently threatened and harassed out of their jobs. Sham “audits” have been used to distract, derail, and sow doubt in the results of the last election. Voter suppression legislation has made voting in key states much harder, particularly for brown and Black people. Across the country, Big Lie candidates are running for everything from local county clerk offices to Governor of Pennsylvania. Republican House and Senate candidates are embracing the Big Lie, and if they win, they’d be poised to have the power to do in 2024 what they could not in 2020. Perhaps most terrifyingly, the Supreme Court just took a case that has the potential to radically empower state legislators to dictate the outcomes of federal elections.
In short, the criminal conspiracy to overturn the election will be on the ballot in November. The question is, will the voters understand that? And will it impact how they vote?
We have to make sure voters connect the dots.
Perhaps the greatest risk we face right now is that voters view January 6th as something that happened in the past — terrible, yes, but also not relevant to the problems they face in 2022. If that’s how they see it, we’re in real trouble.
That’s where the rest of us come in. The January 6th Committee can unearth the facts and tell the story of what happened. The Department of Justice can, should, and must initiate prosecutions against those who participated in this grave attack on our democracy. Our role is to connect the dots and raise the temperature on the threat ahead of us.
How? We do what we do best — we show up, get loud, and get creative. We demand answers. We keep this in the headlines, on our networks’ social media pages, and in the public eye. There are MAGA extremists, election deniers, and Trump enablers scattered all around the country — we need to do everything we can to keep them, their wildly unpopular ideas, and the threat they pose in the news and force other Republicans to answer for them.
We’re currently in the 4th of July recess — a moment when Members of Congress are home in their districts, looking to meet constituents and get good press. It’s important that the story this cycle be about widespread constituent outrage — over Roe, over January 6th, and more. Check out our bird-dogging guide if you want to help make sure they hear from you.
We’re working alongside all of you to help make this happen. For example, Pennsylvania Indivisibles are working to turn up the heat on leading conspirators Scott Perry and Brian Fitzpatrick. Stay tuned because we can’t wait to share what they’re working on.
Will any of this change MAGA extremists’ minds and transform them from coup enablers to champions of democracy? Almost certainly not! But we know there’s a population of voters out there — people who voted with us before and Republicans who feel negatively towards the extremism of the MAGA faction — who are currently up for grabs. And we know there’s a population of voters who agree with us, who’d vote Democratic if they vote, but who might just skip the midterms. We need both of those populations of voters to hear about this constantly, to believe that the threat is real, and to vote accordingly.
We can make this election a referendum on the threat that MAGA extremism poses to our freedom — but it will take all of us.
And on that note, I’m going to do something a little different in my final closing. I know a lot of the readers of our monthly emails are Indivisible leaders and activists, so I want to use the megaphone I’ve got here to make a couple of asks:
RSVP to the Indivisible Convention
If you’re an Indivisible leader, volunteer, or looking to start a group, and you just read the above and thought…that sounds great! Where do I learn more? Well, we’ve got you covered. From July 12–14th, we’re hosting our convention for Indivisible leaders and activists. This three-night series was designed with input from Indivisibles to cover the topics you think are most crucial — strategic, persuasive messaging, creative voter outreach strategies and movement coordination, and recruiting membership and strengthening your groups. We’ll have incredible guest speakers, but perhaps most importantly, we’ll have opportunities to connect with, learn from, and strategize with other Indivisibles. Sign up NOW to hold your spot (and if you’re already signed up, forward this to a friend or fellow group leader). Register once and you’re signed up for the entire event. (You will need to sign in to your zoom account to register.)
Take the Indivisible Group Leader Support Survey
If you’re a leader, you know that ever since we got off the ground in 2017, Indivisible has been testing, innovating, and developing new ways to support local groups. That’s looked like many different things over the years, from building a distributed fundraising system to help you raise and spend money to launching grants and reimbursement programs to developing customized versions of tools like EveryAction and TurboVoter to running caucus programs for communities of interest. The common thread is that we care about creating tools, resources, and supports that make it easier for you to do your work.
We’re now preparing to launch an updated suite of group support resources in early 2023 — super exciting! — and we’re kicking off that process by gathering as much feedback as we possibly can about what’s working, what’s not, and where you’re looking for more, new, or different kinds of support. We want the broadest possible participation in this — we want to hear from people who use our resources, people who don’t use our resources, people who aren’t sure exactly what resources we offer to begin with, and everything in between. It’s all helpful as we revamp and relaunch! So please hop on over to take the survey and stay tuned for the next steps as we continue to improve our offerings to support you.
I’ve been told I can’t close without a picture of Zeke, so here he is, smiling and happy, just a few minutes after he got his FIRST COVID VACCINE SHOT this month:
We’ve been waiting for this moment for what feels like forever, and we’re so grateful that we’re on the path to being a fully vaccinated family.