In the Washington Post, there’s a lengthy story about Sen. Ron Johnson that’s well worth reading in full. Michael Kranish, Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian (a three-person byline) report Ron Johnson could take his last stand Wednesday as Trump’s most stalwart Senate defender:
Sen. Ron Johnson believes Americans have been “snookered into this mass hysteria” about the coronavirus. He continues to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, rejecting scientific studies that found it can endanger covid-19 patients. He has said the country’s intelligence service conspired with the media to undermine President Trump.
Now the Republican from Wisconsin is using his last days as chairman of the powerful Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee to investigate what he calls “election irregularities” related to the 2020 campaign. The hearing, to be held Wednesday, comes after an array of federal and state courts rejected Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and in the wake of Monday’s electoral college vote confirming Joe Biden’s victory.
Johnson’s evolution from ideologically driven standard-bearer of the tea party to one of Trump’s most stalwart defenders mirrors the arc of his party over the past decade. With Johnson’s term expiring in 2022, Wednesday’s hearing could be both the last stand of Trump’s most fervent Senate follower and the first act of a post-Trump Republican Party.
It’s not to Johnson’s credit that he’s described – accurately – as a Trump defender, but he’s as much a defender of Trumpism as Trump. It’s a fair guess that, having dined willingly on lies and conspiracy theories, he’ll run for a third-term at the buffet.
It’s possible Johnson’s merely dull-witted (one can arguably describe him as America’s Dumbest Senator™), but there are other possibilities. See U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson: Ambitious, Compromised, or Crackpot?
Johnson will easily be among the top Wisconsin political stories of 2021 if he announces next year for a 2022 run. See Probable Wisconsin Political Issues for 2021.
He’ll be an interesting topic even if he chooses not to run for a third term: there aren’t, thankfully, many senators whose conduct in office prompts reasonable questions about being compromised.
Perhaps all of this is nothing more than the ordinary descent of one man from Tea Party to Trump. Trump’s obvious affinity for Putin, however, is more than an ordinary matter.
Wisconsin deserves a definitive answer on Sen. Ron Johnson.