As voters consider their White House choice, is January 6 a factor? • New Jersey Monitor

With 156 days until the 2024 presidential elections close, I wonder if the chaos that followed the last election will impact voters in the fall.

Polls indicate he should:

  • A Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll of January, most Americans (55%) believe the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was an attack on democracy that should never be forgotten.
  • A CBS News/YouGov investigation that same month, 78% of respondents disapproved of the actions of those who forced their way into the Capitol.
  • ABC News/Ipsos As of August, 52% of Americans believe Donald Trump should have been charged with a crime because of his connection to the riots.

But in national polls and in battleground states, Trump has the edge over President Joe Biden.

So what gives here? Are there voters who think the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol was deplorable but don’t think it’s a particularly important issue compared to the economy or immigration? Or are there Americans horrified by the riot but uninterested in voting?

This comes to mind because I was in Madison on Wednesday to see U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., speak with Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, in what was billed as a ” fireside chat on defending American democracy.”

Anyone who followed the House committee hearings on January 6 probably recognizes Raskin, who served on the panel and who was not shy about expressing his feelings about the rioters and Trump’s involvement in the episode. He also served as the lead manager of Trump’s second impeachment, a role that earned him warm applause from the crowd gathered to watch him speak to Sherrill.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill and Rep. Jamie Raskin Speaking about the January 6 riot in Madison, May 29, 2024. (Courtesy of Sherrill’s office)

Sherrill, who is reportedly considering a run for governor next year, expressed concern that Congress has little control over the type of behavior exhibited by Trump after his defeat in the last election — for example, using his powers as president to attempt to remain in office, voters be damned.

“I felt like a lot of it was based on tradition and belief in our system of government, and I felt like there were very few levers we could use to force this transfer peacefully or ensure that it continues,” she said.

Wednesday’s conversation — which came before another pivotal moment, Trump’s conviction on 34 counts in his secret trial — naturally turned to the U.S. Supreme Court and the flag-flying trend by Justice Sam Alito. Alito, a Jersey boy, has been at the center of controversy lately because he waved flags favored by Trump loyalists and Jan. 6 rioters outside his home. Raskin said the flags called into question Alito’s objectivity.

“Basically, I take Chief Justice Roberts at his word. He says a judge is just an umpire,” he said. “Well, would Major League Baseball allow an umpire to officiate at the World Series if he was flying the pennant, the flag of one of the teams in his yard? Or flying one of the other teams’ flags upside down? Or what if his wife protested to the league to have the score of the last game overturned and reversed?

He added: “If a judge is to be an arbiter, then act like an arbiter. »

Raskin’s plea that Supreme Court justices should be term-limited and come from different locations around the country drew a mild rebuke from Sherrill.

“New Jersey hasn’t really had a very good track record with its Supreme Court Justice Alito, so we may have to be careful,” she said.

The crowd in Madison on Wednesday devoured thoughts of Sherrill and Raskin on January 6, but back to my original question: Do the head-to-head polls between Trump and Biden indicate that voters don’t think the riot on January 6 January counts? Raskin told me he thinks polls showing Biden behind won’t reflect what happens on Election Day.

He noted that Democrats have outperformed the polls in recent special elections, such as the one for a Republican seat on Long Island that Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi won by eight points in February.

“We won elections across the country,” Raskin told me. “Some poll numbers reflect people being concerned about different issues, including what’s happening in the Middle East, but when people go to vote, they’re voting for Democrats at this point, and we expect that to be the case. What will happen?

I asked the same question of Craig Sicknick, whose brother Brian was a U.S. Capitol Police officer and died in the hospital a day after defending the Capitol during the riot. Brian Sicknick has become something of a hero to Trump critics who condemn the events of January 6 as an insurrection, and his family was in Madison on Wednesday to watch Sherrill and Raskin speak.

“I personally think I wouldn’t be here today without his protection,” Sherrill said to applause from the crowd.

Craig Sicknick told me he worries “all the time” that voters will abandon this issue. I asked him what his message was for these voters.

“If you want to have a country you want to live in, you better pay attention to it,” Sicknik said.