In its opening salvo in the 2022 battle for control of the House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a campaign ad indicting House Republicans for standing “with Q not you.” The ad places the conspiracy cult at the center of the deadly Jan. 6 riot, saying that QAnon “with Donald Trump, incited a mob that attacked the Capitol and murdered a cop.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi previewed the strategy this week when she referred to GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as “Qevin McCarthy, Q-CA” in a tweet. McCarthy helpfully lived up to the moniker by refusing to remove Greene from her committee assignments and forcing his caucus to go on record in support of someone who not only espouses QAnon, but has also endorsed the execution of Pelosi and other Democrats and has verbally assaulted survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And frankly, that’s just a small taste of Greene’s abhorrent quackery.
House Democrats are betting that won’t play well in the very districts that will likely decide control of the House for the second half of President Joe Biden’s term.
“If Kevin McCarthy wants to take his party to ‘crazy town’ and follow these dangerous ideas, he shouldn’t expect to do well in the next election,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the new chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Politico. “They can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters. They cannot do both.”
According to Politico, the DCCC’s $500,000 TV and digital ad campaign will run in the districts of seven vulnerable Republicans: Reps. Mike Garcia, Young Kim and Michelle Steel of California; Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida; Don Bacon of Nebraska; Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; and Beth Van Duyne of Texas.
Democrats’ early decision to nationalize the race is a notable departure from their strategy in 2018, when they deployed a hyper-localized message around health care that ultimately netted them an historic 41 seats. Of course, the backdrop to that strategy was the GOP’s repeated efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have stripped millions of Americans of their coverage.
The backdrop to this decision were the horrific events of Jan. 6, an insurrection at the Capitol that Americans couldn’t have even imagined before they watched in horror as it played out in real time on screens across the country. A Yahoo News/YouGuv survey released this week found that 81% of Americans said the attack wasn’t justified. And more than 9 in 10 Americans expressed revulsion about the attack, saying it made them feel “angry,” “ashamed” or “fearful.”
Democrats will now have several weeks worth of a Senate trial to remind people of that revulsion and how the GOP underwrote that deadly attack before, during, and after it took place through its unyielding support of Trump’s lies and its embrace of extremist groups like QAnon.
Democrats’ bet is that after they deliver results on COVID-19 relief, they will be able to head into 2022 saying that Democrats stood with the American people while Republicans stood with QAnon.