Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, has frequently made national headlines the past year.
Whether or not he truly believes what he’s touting, Johnson has taken advantage of high political tensions to not only push unfounded conspiracies about the pandemic and election, but also make equally false and even racist remarks regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
By downplaying the severity of the virus, promoting hydroxychloroquine instead of vaccines as a COVID-19 cure and spreading general lies about the election, Johnson has fully embraced science denial and use of misinformation to invoke fear — a popular tactic of the Trump Administration.
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While Johnson recently said he probably won’t run for re-election, his remarks leave a lot of uncertainty about the 2022 ticket.
If the Republican party values fair elections, they should ditch this Senator and his Trumpian attitude if they want any chance at a seat in 2022.
Recently, Johnson opposed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion bill which included another round of $1,400 stimulus checks.
While Johnson and company often like to play the adult in the room by pointing out the amount of debt the US is already in, most voters are at least semi-aware of the problems associated with “printing money.” The reason over 70% of Americans are in favor of this type of stimulus is because so many people need it.
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Johnson is certainly not doing students any favors either with compromised stimulus bills. Adult dependents like students and those with disabilities are not only excluded from these bills, but Johnson also fails to address the student debt crisis, which is at an all-time high.
If it’s money that’s needed to address these concerns, why not go after the companies which profited the most from the pandemic? This could include companies such as Zoom, which managed to profit immensely yet paid nothing in federal income taxes.
Policies focused on raising corporate taxes are held by Johnson’s Democratic opponents and even some moderate Republicans, but Johnson has a history of voting on policies benefiting the wealthy such as himself.
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Working-class Wisconsinites, students and pretty much anyone who didn’t marry a billionaire’s daughter still need help from their representatives.
The lack of basic empathy and awareness Johnson often exhibits is most vividly displayed in the opinion piece he wrote for Fox News which describes his takeaways from a visit he and 18 of his Republican colleagues took to a migrant center on the southern border.
Rather than sympathize or propose genuine solutions to the tragedies they witnessed, Johnson’s article focused on the investigative journalism they pretended to do by taking pictures of dead bodies and huddled masses to convey a misleading narrative — one in which they showed a rare concern for both the spread of COVID-19 and the treatment of immigrants.
The article is deliberate with its usage of the term “human trafficking” in order to create as much fear as possible for the readers. He was also careful to frequently name drop the Biden administration so we knew who is to blame.
In reality, there’s a variety of reasons completely independent of policy possibly causing immigration to increase. It’s true border crossings are higher now than they were a year ago under Trump, but did these numbers increase because immigrants anticipated a lenient Biden administration like Johnson claims, or is there an external factor the data does not capture?
The Senator reflected on the humanitarian crisis he witnessed at the border and decided to write a political slam piece rather than writing actual legislation. His priorities are not aligned with the needs of those he was elected to represent.
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Wisconsin deserves better than the “anti-politician” who governs by means of skepticism and subtle fear-mongering. Red or blue, the Senate seat up for grabs in 2022 must be filled by someone competent who is focused on solutions and action rather than theatrics.
Jack H. Hansen ([email protected]) is a sophomore studying business, philosophy and sustainability.