Unseating Ron Johnson in 2022's midterms would be a ‘very meaningful triumph’ for Democrats: columnists
More than 30 U.S. Senate races will take place in the 2022 midterms, which will determine whether or not Democrats keep their narrow majorities in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. One of the most closely watched Senate races will be the in Wisconsin, where far-right Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is seeking a third term. Washington Post opinion columnists Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, joining forces for an op-ed published on January 11, lay out some reasons why Democrats would love to unseat Johnson in 2022.
“If there’s a single Senate race with more symbolic importance than any other in 2022, it has to be in Wisconsin, where Ron Johnson just declared that he will run for reelection after all, notwithstanding the Republican senator’s pledge to leave after two terms,” Waldman and Sargent continue explain. “Even beyond taking a Republican-held seat with control of the Senate on a knife’s edge, defeating Johnson would be particularly sweet for Democrats.”
Waldman and Sargent continue, “They are so eager to oust Johnson that a dozen candidates have already declared their campaigns. One reason for this is that, as much as anyone in the Senate, Johnson has come to embody many of the GOP’s worst pathologies in the age of Donald Trump.”
The columnists note that in the 2010 midterms, Johnson successfully ran as a Tea Party Republican and emphasized fiscal conservatism — pushing what they describe as an “I’m-a-businessman-not-a-politician pitch.” But more recently, Waldman and Sargent observe, Johnson has been MAGA all the way.
Johnson’s recent campaign ads, they note, underscore his “headlong lurch into Trumpism” and “feature lurid, terrifying imagery of burning American flags, invading hordes streaming across the border, and cities on fire amid racial protests.” And the Wisconsin senator, they add, has also pandered to MAGA extremism by downplaying “the effectiveness of” COVID-19 vaccines and implying that the January 6, 2021 insurrection “might have been a false-flag operation.”
“From the beginning of the pandemic,” Waldman and Sargent write, “Johnson has argued that COVID is no biggie and doesn’t merit extraordinary measures. As late as this past December, he charged that senior Biden adviser Anthony S. Fauci had ‘overhyped’ COVID, and that he ‘did the exact same thing with AIDS.’ This came when almost 800,000 Americans had died from the pandemic.”
On top of those things, the columnists observe, Johnson has promoted former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud. In light of all those things, they stress, Democrats will be celebrating if they are able to unseat Johnson in November.
“Everyone on both sides seems pleased that Johnson is running again,” Waldman and Sargent write. “But if Democrats can beat him in what will be a difficult year, it will be a very meaningful triumph indeed.”
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