Can Wisconsin Upgrade From Dumbest Republican In Senate To Dreamiest Democrat?

State/Local Politics
Can Wisconsin Upgrade From Dumbest Republican In Senate To Dreamiest Democrat?

Wonkette has often declared Ron Johnson the Senate’s dumbest Republican, although evolution expert Herschel Walker might soon threaten Johnson’s sole distinction.(Also there is Tommy Tuberville, who may have stolen the title earlier this year.) We prefer a best-case scenario where neither Walker nor Johnson are in the Senate next year.

Georgia Senate polls show Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock leading Walker by either nine points or three. The margin should rightly be around 50 points, but we’ll take a clear victory. Wisconsin voters have soured on Johnson significantly since he won re-election in 2016. He’s reportedly lost ground with women, moderates, independents, and suburbanites. This tends to happen when voters realize you’re a dribbling idiot.


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Wisconsin looks like a good pickup opportunity for Democrats as part of our quest to make Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema less annoying. Although the primary election isn’t until August 9, Democrats feel like they should hurry up and rally behind the candidate most likely to send Johnson packing. That looks like the state’s current lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes. Last Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry dropped out of the primary and endorsed Barnes.

From Politico:

Democrats welcomed the bombshell news, arguing that it will give Barnes a head start against Johnson in one of the most pivotal Senate races in the country and aid his fundraising operation. Johnson has $3.6 million in the bank as of the latest campaign finance reports, compared to Barnes’ $1.5 million.

Lasry wasn’t just fooling around with his candidacy. He’d loaned his campaign more than $12 million and was Barnes’s top rival for the nomination, but Barnes was polling consistently ahead. Lasry presumably knows when to cut his losses.

Friday, state treasurer Sarah Godlewski also suspended her campaign and endorsed Barnes, which effectively made him the presumptive nominee. Barnes graciously thanked both Lasry and Barnes. In response, Barnes expressed appreciation for Godlewski and revved up the trash talk about Johnson:

“We are in a stronger position than we have ever been to defeat Ron Johnson once and for all. And it’s because this is bigger than any one of us,” he said. “This is about retiring a Senator who has left working people in the dust for more than a decade while he doubled his own personal wealth and delivered for his wealthy donors.”

So, let’s talk about Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor, who could become the state's first Black senator. He’s 35 years old and TV-politician-attractive. Look at all the tattoos!

Unlike Maryland gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore, who’s also bald and beautiful, Barnes is an experienced legislator, having represented Wisconsin’s 11th district in the state assembly from 2013 to 2017. He launched a failed primary challenge against incumbent state Sen. Lena Taylor, but in 2018, he won a landslide victory over businessman Kurt Kober in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Barnes and his running mate Tony Evers narrowly defeated incumbent Gov. Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch.

Friday, shortly after Godlewski threw in the towel, Walker tweeted some white Christian nationalist nonsense about Barnes.

Democrats rally behind a racial who wants to end cash bail so criminals like the Waukesha Christmas Parade Massacre are out on the street.

This sentence is apparently missing a word or contains a typo but either way, it’s still racist. (His replacement tweet used the word "radical.") Naturally, Johnson had nothing constructive to offer. He released a typically ignorant, scaremongering statement: “Socialist policies have produced this mess and a radical left Senator from Wisconsin is not the solution.” He also claimed that Godlewski’s endorsement of Mandela, which was perfectly normal, was really just Democratic “power brokers” clearing the field for “most radical left candidate.” This willfully ignores how Democratic leadership has previously supported centrist incumbents.

Barnes clapped back at Johnson Milwaukee-style: “I won’t be lectured about respecting voters by a pro-insurrectionist senator.”

We like this guy.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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