Message Guide: Hold All January 6 Criminals Accountable

folder_openMessage Guide, Research
remembering jan. 6

As the January 6th Commission hearings get underway, we are learning more and more about the depth of the involvement of Republicans who were aligned with former President Trump to promote, pay for and pardon the January 6th attack on our country and attempt to overturn the will of the people. 

Since the attack, researchers and the Representatives investigating the underlying details have learned a great deal about what happened before that day even took place and found that elected and designated officials coordinated a criminal effort to keep Trump in office. 

Key Message Guidance  

  • Start with a shared values statement. 
  • Name the problem and define the opposition to our shared value. Don’t repeat the opposition, even to negate. Speak proactively to reframe the issue. 
  • Frame the opposition as a “hurdle” we can overcome, rather than a “barrier” that stops us. 
  • Make voters the protagonists and focus on values. 
  • Provide tangible outcomes, and end with a call to action.

Emotion and repetition are powerful tools to use for every message. They help our allies remember the talking points and stay on message, allowing us to speak as a united front and frame the discussion. 

Key to this issue: Lead with the planned criminal conspiracy in the guidance below before mentioning January 6th. Voters are more reactive when we begin with the criminal intent before getting to the criminal acts.

Sample message

In America, voters decide. 
Shared Value
But Trump and MAGA Republicans engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the will of the people, including threatening the Vice President and helping promote, pay for, and pardon the attack on our country on January 6th. Define the opposition
These politicians are now taking away our freedom to vote, hoping to claim and hold onto power for themselves.Tie to current events
We must support the January 6th Committee in investigating those who planned this attack on our country. Everyone involved in this crime must be held accountable to ensure it never happens again and the people we vote for govern in our name. Call to action, outcomes we can achieve

Sample message

A federal judge has said “the illegality of this plan was obvious.” Trump Republicans participated in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the will of the people. They helped plan, promote and pay for January 6th and tried to cover up their role in this attack by blocking the FBI investigation of these crimes. They continue to spread deadly lies to keep their base engaged and enraged so they can sabotage future elections. Set up the narrative

Trump Republicans encouraged and supported the right-wing militants, telling them to come to Washington and then to our Capitol, where they injured police officers and aimed to assassinate certain representatives and Vice President. The footsoldiers were called “patriots” and promised pardons for their crimes. Define the opposition
In America, voters decide who governs in our name. In the last presidential election, we turned out in record numbers, made sure our votes were counted and that the will of the people prevailed. Shared Value 
Now, we must join together to support the January 6th Committee to fully investigate, seek justice and demand accountability for the events leading up to and on January 6th, or we risk a repeat of this violence and undermine the very foundation of our country – that the will of the people prevails and our elected leaders respect the outcomes of our elections.Tie to current events, Call to action, outcomes we can achieve

Best Practices

Focus on the future: The ongoing threat of future violence and attempts to claim and hold powerLet this be about a one-time event of the past.
Talk about sabotaging or overturning electionsTalk about stealing or subverting elections
Focus on what they wanted to achieve, highlight the lead up to and day of January 6thFocus on a single day’s events
Talk about the danger to our freedom as a country, as votersTalk about the danger for Members of Congress
Talk about the many aspects of their plan and the broad involvement of Trump officials, members of Congress, etc Talk about them as accidentally related or coincidental or focus only on the people who attacked the Capitol
Talk about “Trump Republicans,” Trump and his allies, etc. Hold anyone who has ever been a Republican responsible for this.
Call this an “attack on our country” or and attack on “America” or on “Americans” and an “insurrection”Call it a “riot or a “protest” and don’t make it about “Congress” or “the Capitol”
Make this about consequences – freedom to vote and overturning electionsOnly make this about the fate of Democracy and Democratic norms

Additional Stand Alone Talking Points

  • No matter our color, background or party, most of us believe that people who commit crimes against our nation and endanger our lives have no business governing in our name. 
  • When someone plans and recruits participants for a set of crimes – we prosecute the planners, not just the foot soldiers. The same goes for every attempt to overturn the will of the people. We must investigate and prosecute the politicians behind this criminal conspiracy to ensure justice is served.
  • Trump Republicans in office who betrayed America by inciting, encouraging and supporting these armed militants then tried to cover up their role in this violence by blocking the FBI investigation of these crimes.
  • Thanks to the careful, thorough work of the January 6th committee, evidence shows Trump Republicans helped plan, promote and excuse the attack on January 6th. 
  • Trump Republicans are waging a deliberate disinformation campaign to attack our freedom to vote and have introduced hundreds of election sabotage bills to control election outcomes, punish election officials for doing their jobs, and give partisan poll watchers the ability to harass and intimidate voters. 
  • In 2020, we turned out in record numbers, made sure our votes were counted and that the will of the people prevailed.
  • Now, Americans across race, place, party, and background are coming together to say: in America, the voters decide the outcome of our elections.  

Key Research Takeaways

  • Voter anger around January 6 remains high and the attack continues to be important. Some feel renewed energy around voting in the midterms when they find out that supporters of the January 6th events are running for office. 
  • We must widen the lens of blame past the foot soldiers of the attack and extend the timeline to the days of planning that came before the attack took place by emphasizing the actions of elected officials and GOP leaders who helped Trump plan, carry out and cover up the attack. 
  • We must call January 6th a crime. It is the most emotionally engaging description for voters and most damaging to those who still want to cover it up. 
  • Voters support the Congressional hearings and fear future violence. They are very concerned about the collection of actions taken by those who promoted the attack. 
  • Americans demand accountability and support punishing those involved in the planning of the January 6th attack. 

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