The new year couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for House Republicans. Eleven unsuccessful attempts to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, with fringe members of the party holding the rest of the House hostage, have sparked infighting among the public and led to a unified Democratic caucus that led to the Republicans I see members falling apart.
That’s exactly the story that the coalition of Democratic and liberal groups wants to anchor in the minds of American voters for the next two years. These groups have developed a new plan to attack the Democrats and use Republican issues and priorities to attack the Democrats. That effort includes an “investigator investigates” approach. That is, attacking the new leader of the House Republicans who will launch an investigation into the Biden administration.
Groups that describe themselves as collaborators in the war room that coordinates messages, polls, paid and earned media, rallies, and regional organizing include a renewed congressional integrity project and an advance called Courage for America. activist campaigns. Powering the poll is Navigator, a progressive research and polling group. Common Defense, an organization focused on progressive veterans. and a new rapid response and opposition research team called the House Accountability War Room launched by Courage for America.
All of these organizations focus on creating attack ads, social media messages, local awareness campaigns, and the occasional stunt. This is going to be a bit of a deviation if Congressional Democrats are open to outside efforts. For most of the 2022 cycle, President Joe Biden and more moderate congressional candidates were less keen on attacking Republicans, with progressive agitators calling for more confrontation with the Republican right. Even when possible, we chose bipartisan messages. That changed after summer, more combative tone Maybe stay here.
The effort also aims to prevent a repeat of the two-year Benghazi investigation by Congressional Republicans. The investigation uncovered Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails, accused Clinton of mishandling the State Department’s response to the terrorist attack, and selectively leaked information from closed locations, which led to Hillary Clinton’s Damaged his Clinton presidential campaign. – Door testimony.
But Democrats don’t just want to avoid a reinvestigation of Benghazi. They have learned from it and borrowed some of the Republican messaging tactics, including his social media campaigns, opposition research delivered to journalists, and scrutiny of funders, subordinates and supporters. The hope is that liberal groups will match the conservative think tanks, activists, and organizations that Republicans are poised to use the power of the majority to investigate.
How progressive groups control the narrative
Although these groups do not all operate under the same umbrella organization, they share similar goals. It sets the story for how the Republican House of Representatives operates before it has the power to launch investigations, push conservative agendas, and create new rules for Congress. .
“One of our key goals here is to help educate the American public on how this House is run and controlled by MAGA extremists. It’s becoming more and more clear as we witness,” he told me, running the House Accountability Operations Office in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Harry Reid’s Senate campaign.
Petkanas said the goal of these groups is “to ensure that the work this new House does never goes unnoticed.” The idea is to mirror Republican priorities. “So if they pass the bill,” he said. Make sure people don’t just shrug their shoulders here in DC and keep people at home from hearing about it.
In the fall of 2022, these groups geared up after it became clear that Democratic candidates would lose the House majority by a narrow margin, even as they defy odds in battlegrounds and states.
For example, Common Defense, which typically focuses on veterans-specific policy advocacy, partnered with the progressive activist network Courage for America to say, “As soon as the election is over in November, this Republican We’ve started gearing up for what is inevitable to be shit,” Naveed Shah, political director of the Common Defense and senior adviser to Courage for America, told me. is working to ensure that elected officials are heard and they need to know that they will be held accountable by us.”
That includes a press conference both groups held in front of the Capitol on Thursday to call on Republican congressmen to condemn political violence two years after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. In attendance were four Democrats, former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fannon, and about 40 veterans. It also involves going head-to-head with a Republican congressman. For example, through local demonstrations in the area, such as those in Long Island, N.Y., calling for an investigation into Congressman George Santos, or on the hills, filming those interactions on social media. increase.Like this week’s meeting with Congressman-elect Troy Nels of Texas, Mike Carey When Bill Johnson Fanone, Ohio deliver A petition to the office of Georgia elector Marjorie Taylor Greene.
These conflicts show the different attitudes these outside groups have to dealing with the Republican Party. Compared to the official Democratic group, these new organizations are more daring about putting Republicans on the Capitol and tarnishing the reputations of these future investigators and power brokers.
This week, the House Accountability War Room also released its first Opposition research document focusing on 39 incumbent and incoming Republican lawmakers. Focusing on figures such as Greene, Matt Gates of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, the “MAGA Guidebook” has been used in congressional offices, subway stations, and around Capitol Hill. distributed.
It’s the Improved Congressional Integrity Project that powers the guidebook and efforts to align the Republican majority of the House to the far right. It posted posters and projected displays near the Capitol to take advantage of the Republican party’s chaotic presidential election, highlighting McCarthy’s efforts to gain support. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and the House Liberal Caucus, who has so far blocked McCarthy’s bid.
Beyond that, the Congressional Integrity Project “plans to engage in other fee-charging activities. Because I want to talk to congressional voters and ask, ‘Is this something you want Congress to focus on?’ . “We spend money, we grow our organization, we go down to the district level and we start attacking.”
That aggressive stance would be a new strategy for Democrats, especially in the context of the eventual congressional inquiry Republicans want to conduct against the Biden administration, Wodehouse told me. And you can see his efforts to push back his administration and the investigation into Democrats and democratic policies.It’s defensive,” he said.We’re attacking. ’” He said the goal was to “undermine their political standing. We are going to make them pay the price.”
And it will create a coordinated anti-MAGA Republican narrative in the press and on social media, in the same spirit that Republicans have done, feeding polls and opposition research to partners in both houses of the White House and Congress. and pass that knowledge on to voters. The last time a Democratic president won a majority in the House (like the hearings in Benghazi), he started preparing with outside groups late last year.
“I have a lot of optimism about how the Democrats and the president have unified the message by putting this MAGA ideology front and center and holding the GOP accountable,” Wodehouse said. Told. “And it’s not a difficult concept.”