The editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is through with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who is running for re-election this November against Democratic challenger and current Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. The paper published a new editorial this week comprehensively outlining actions by which Johnson has essentially failed the state’s residents, as the board summarized it.
Some of Johnson’s issues include incessantly promoting misinformation related to COVID-19. He even claimed during an interview last year that certain authorities elsewhere in the world were placing people who weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 into “internment camps,” which is ridiculous. Johnson’s team pointed reporters to facilities established by Australian authorities for two-week isolation stints for travelers from outside the country returning to their Australia homes. Such an arrangement doesn’t constitute an internment camp in any remotely reasonable sense of the idea.
Johnson has also denied the basic reality of climate change as recently as last year, when he evidently referred to the well-established scientific fact as “bullshit,” and additionally, he has misrepresented the basic reality of last year’s Trump-incited mob attack on the Capitol. He has specifically contested referring to what happened as an armed insurrection, although people involved in it and present at the Capitol were armed — besides using many other items as weapons. The publication also criticized Johnson for proposing making Medicare and Social Security subject to annual budget negotiations in Congress — something that could obviously make both programs vulnerable to partisan infighting.
“For years, Ron Johnson has demonstrated that he should be retired to his family’s seaside Florida home — and not representing Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate. Voters should send him packing this November,” the board said. The publication expressed particularly serious concerns about the prospects for democracy of Johnson retaining power. “We cannot elect people to office who do not honor the results of elections and still expect to hold onto our democratic republic,” the board commented. “It’s that simple. Even citizens who don’t like his opponent should withhold their vote for Johnson on this point alone — to ensure our government derives its power from the consent of the governed. To ensure, as Republican President Abraham Lincoln put it, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.””
“You’ll notice Johnson is not touting a long record of accomplishments in his ads for re-election. Instead, he and his supporters have attacked his opponent — a Black man — as “different” and “dangerous,”” the board continued. “In fact, Ron Johnson is the worst Wisconsin political representative since the infamous Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Johnson in the past promised to serve no more than two terms. Voters should hold him to that pledge in November.” Polling indicates the race is close, with surveys having shown both Barnes and Johnson in the lead. Johnson recently faced Barnes for a debate, where the Democratic contender criticized Johnson over his dismissal of concerns about abortion rules in the state.