While there appears to be widespread disapproval by Republicans and widespread approval by Democrats, both sides question what effect the January 6 committee’s hearings and findings will have on elective politics in 2022 and 2024.

We have only had one hearing, a prime-time two-hour event on Thursday, June 9. Around twenty million viewers watched on cable and network (excluding Yo​​uTube and streaming), an okay number but not near the thirty-eight million who watched Biden’s state of the union address. Others will follow in June but most will not be in prime time.

The first hearing did not “blow the roof off the House [of Representatives]” as wrongly predicted by committee member Cong. Jamie Raskin, an insufferable blowhard who makes my teeth hurt even though I mostly agree with him.

One good decision: total silence from the committee members other than Thompson and rock star Cheney. I hope they keep it that way because when the members speak it will sound like spinning and divert from the facts. My political intuition tells me that there is a zero to ten percent chance of shutting them up.

After fifteen months of coverage since January 6, 2021 and longer if you count from election day 2020, a lot that was adduced at the first hearing was known to many. Among the highlights of “new” facts were:

  • the request by some members of congress to get pardons from Trump;
  • Jared Kushner’s characterization of White House counsel Pat Cippilone and his entire staff’s threat to resign as “whining;”
  • Ivanka Trump’s agreement with Attorney General Bill Barr’s assessment of stolen election claims as without foundation;
  • vice-president Pence’s “direction” to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to send the national guard to the capitol and the consequent request to the chairman by Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows to assure a “narrative” confirming that Trump was in charge;
  • the sheer number of White House and campaign officials who vociferously condemned the stolen election lie in real time and who told Trump that Biden won.

There seems to be general agreement that at the end of the day the committee plans to establish that Trump planned to undo Biden’s victory using “seven” methods. The committee’s conclusion will be that Trump is a criminal who should be prosecuted.

The gap in that conclusion appears to be the lack of direct contact between Trump and the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers whose leaders are now under indictment for seditious conspiracy. Those two groups are alleged to be the actual planners of the January 6 attack on the capitol.

There will be testimony in the hearings of contacts between the indicted leaders of the two groups and people “close” to Trump. “Close” is a matter of opinion and conjecture. Somebody has to credibly testify that Trump approved the January 6 attack to make a viable case of seditious conspiracy against him.

What of the political impact of these hearings on 2022 and 2024 elections.

Except in isolated cases, I don’t think the hearings of the January 6 committee will change what is widely assumed to be a Republican takeover of the House and perhaps the Senate in 2022. Without repeating the litany of bad news on the economy and elsewhere, I believe that people have already made up their minds to give it to the Republicans. There may be a few seats less based on the hearings, but the result will not change.

2024 is another story.

A Trump laid low (and perhaps indicted ) by his evil attempt to undermine American democracy because he wanted to stay in power in the face of an election loss–a first in American history–cannot be nominated or elected. As EK has pointed out, the editorials in the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, June 11 reflect a sea change in one of his most important supporters: Rupert Murdoch.

That may be the end of any political future for Donald J. Trump. If so, the January 6 committee may have saved America.