AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
In next year’s midterm elections, Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to flip the Senate. While the disastrous record of Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration thus far leaves GOP candidates in an apparently strong position, Republicans will still have to defend 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs. Compounding this challenge, five Republican senators have already announced their retirement, and history shows that open seats are far more difficult to defend than seats in which the incumbent runs again. Of the 29 remaining senators, 25 have said they will seek reelection, while only four remain undecided – Democrat Patrick Leahy (VT) and Republicans John Thune (SD), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Ron Johnson (WI).
Of those four, Ron Johnson’s decision will undoubtedly have the greatest impact on overall control of the Senate, and perhaps on the future direction of the Republican Party. For starters, it’s unlikely that Democrats will lose Leahy’s seat in deep blue Vermont, or that Republicans will lose Murkowski or Thune’s seat in deep red Alaska and South Dakota. In purple Wisconsin however, which went for Biden by a mere 20,000 votes in 2020 after Trump won there by about the same margin in 2016, holding on to Johnson’s seat may be a much more difficult proposition for Republicans.
Perhaps even more consequentially, since first winning election to the Senate in 2010, Johnson has been a stalwart defender of conservative ideals, showing great integrity and resolve even when other members of his own party have not. He has also worked tirelessly to better the lives of people in his home state, exhibiting a selfless commitment to public service that is all too rare among elected officials today. At a time when the country desperately needs both strength and compassion from its leaders, losing Johnson’s voice in the Senate could be a major blow to Republicans – and indeed the entire country – even if the GOP manages to hold on to his seat.
Johnson became something of a celebrity among Republicans before even being sworn in after defeating three-term incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold. Prior to Johnson’s victory, no Republican had won a U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin since Robert Kasten, Jr. in 1986 – who was defeated by Feingold in 1992. A quiet businessman who had never before considered running for public office, Johnson saw the disastrous consequences of President Obama’s policies early on and stepped forward into the fray to help prevent the United States from being turned into a “socialist, European-style” state.
With the help of other like-minded conservatives and local Tea Party activists, Johnson won and never looked back. His class of Republicans took control of Congress back from Democrats, helping stem the flood of liberal policies emanating from the Obama White House.
Then, wrongly left for dead and cut off from funding by the Washington establishment in his 2016 reelection campaign, Johnson fought it out and won the seat a second time.
In the years since, Johnson has built perhaps the most impressive resume of any Republican currently serving in Congress, at least from the standpoint of facing down radical Democrats, the liberal media, and the soft approach of some elected officials inside the GOP.
On several occasions, Johnson took stances on issues that he knew he would be mercilessly criticized for, only to be vindicated later on. Along with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Johnson was one of the first Congressional Republicans to push for answers on the origins of COVID-19, insisting that the lab-leak hypothesis was a viable possibility last year. The New York Times lambasted Johnson as the “foremost amplifier of conspiracy theories and disinformation” in part for that theory, a theory that later came to be regarded as not only a possibility but even a likelihood.
Instead of gloating, Johnson has continued to push for answers on COVID-19, holding government officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci accountable for their shaky record on both preventative and early treatments for the virus.
Johnson also took the lead on the investigation into the Biden family’s ties to foreign governments, including in Ukraine and China, from his post as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Although the media and unelected bureaucrats inside the federal government desperately tried to delay and downplay the damning final report, which was released just over a year ago, Johnson’s work ultimately raised new questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and how much involvement Joe Biden had in advancing his son in roles he was otherwise thoroughly unqualified for.
Johnson’s questioning even apparently drew the attention of the FBI, which Johnson says sent “briefers” to “warn” him that he was the target of “Russian disinformation.” Johnson wasn’t buying it, and demanded to know who sent the briefers to try to intimidate him.
True to form, the media claimed Johnson’s findings about Joe and Hunter Biden were nothing more than “conspiracy theories.” But in the months since, Twitter has been forced to apologize for censoring a bombshell New York Post story on Hunter Biden, the entire Biden family has faced conflict of interest concerns over Hunter’s bizarre new career as an artist, and new evidence continues to emerge about the President’s knowledge of his son’s misadventures. Once again, Johnson looks to be vindicated, this time for inspiring more investigation into the Bidens. Nonetheless, he’s still looking for more answers, insisting that the American people deserve to know the full truth about the Bidens’ involvement with foreign governments.
The media also slammed Johnson for suggesting that the FBI knew more about the January 6 Capitol riot than they were letting on. CNN called it a “ridiculous conspiracy theory,” while Johnson also faced the wrath of the ever-irascible Amy Klobuchar inside the halls of the Senate for his statements. Then came the news from the New York Times late last month that at least one FBI informant was among those who entered the Capitol, whose texts supported Johnson’s theory. Don’t expect an apology from the media voices and Democrats who slandered Johnson anytime soon.
The list goes on for Johnson. He was an early advocate of Right to Try legislation, which President Trump ultimately signed into law in 2018. He has demanded answers from Biden officials for the ongoing crisis at the border, blamed Biden’s border policies for the increasing number of human trafficking cases, called out military officials for their descent into wokeness, and strongly opposed radical leftist indoctrination in school classrooms. On every issue facing the country today, Johnson has remained true to his conservative roots and led, even in the face of withering attacks from the media and the left-wing mob.
In Wisconsin, Johnson has leveraged his business acumen and dedication to serving his constituents through programs like the Joseph Project, which he founded in 2015. The initiative helps connect employers to job seekers, in particular formerly incarcerated individuals and those looking to turn their lives around through honest work. Working with local pastors, the Joseph Project hosts week-long sessions to teach job seekers the skills they need not only to land a job, but to be financially stable and successful long-term. Upon completing the program, every participant is guaranteed an interview for a well-paying entry-level job.
To date, the program has graduated more than 500 people and has expanded from its original base in Milwaukee to serve other cities throughout the state.
In short, Johnson has consistently displayed courage — the indispensable virtue that was integral to the founding of this country and to its preservation in trying times, but which is equally lacking among many leaders of both parties today. He showed the courage to adhere to certain core principles even when it would be easier not to, and the courage to fight battles that he knows he is likely to lose simply because it is the right thing to do. For a party that has long been plagued by its leaders caving under pressure from Democrats, media, and outside groups, and for a country that is too often led by cowards, Johnson’s continued presence in the Senate would be a very welcome development.