January 6 and the Awesome Power of Republican Cognitive Dissonance

It’s happening with almost metronomic regularity. First, we see yet another poll demonstrating that Republicans have extraordinary outlying views about the events of January 6. This week it was a Morning Consult poll demonstrating that a decreasing percentage of Republicans hold Trump “very” or “somewhat” responsible for the Capitol attack. In fact, Republicans now hold Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress more responsible for January 6 than Trump. 

Second, given the posture of the GOP base, it’s completely unsurprising that the vast majority of Republicans in Congress seem indifferent at best and hostile at worst to the idea of thoroughly investigating one of the worst individual acts of insurrection in American history. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has even threatened to strip Republican members of Congress of their committee assignments if they joined the House select committee investigating the attack. 

(Rep. Liz Cheney was undeterred, of course, and accepted Nancy Pelosi’s invitation on the committee.)

Third, the continued Republican denial and Republican resistance leads to a constant question from folks who are distant from the Republican heartland. “What is wrong with Republican voters? What is happening?” Media coverage is often little help—after all, reporters tend to cluster around the most hard-core Trump supporters, the rally Trumpists, for example, who exhibit devotion to Trump that’s extreme and weird even to most Republicans. 

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