Over at The Bulwark, Mark Becker, former Brown County Supervisor and former Chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, describes his Call With Ron Johnson: He Knows Biden Won But Won’t Admit It. Becker writes that on
November 14, 8:37 a.m. my phone rings. I do a double take on my caller ID and realize who is calling. I take a deep breath and answer the phone. The next 30 minutes and 32 seconds would be a conversation that was nothing short of surreal.
The TL;DR of the call was this: Senator Johnson knows that Joe Biden won a free and fair election. He is refusing to admit it publicly and stoking conspiracies that undermine our democracy solely because it would be “political suicide” to oppose Trump. I find this unconscionable.
Reading Becker’s full account, it’s hard to tell whether Johnson’s public denial about the election outcome is simple dishonesty (“he knew and accepted the fact that Joe Biden had won”), ambition (“political suicide” to oppose Trump), a consequence of being somehow compromised into lying despite knowing Biden won (see After Moscow Trip, Ron Johnson Says Election Meddling Overblown), or that Johnson’s a crackpot (Becker relates Johnson’s baseless speculation about Biden’s health).
If Johnson’s worried in post-election 2020 about political suicide, then is he looking ahead to his political health in 2022 (when he’d be up for re-election as senator or could run for governor)?
He’s odd for Wisconsin: he’s seems more cipher than man. Becker writes that Johnson is cordial in private, and implies he’s only acerbic in person. Johnson doesn’t strike as either, really, so much as a vessel of others’ concoctions. Some of these men so plainly believe what they say. Johnson sounds like a man who says what others believe.
On a weighted list of Wisconsin’s political topics over the next year, Ron Johnson belongs near the top.