Senator Ron Johnson, Worried About His Election, Reverses Course And Speaks At GOP Convention
What makes Senator Ron Johnson’s appearance at the Republican National Convention most interesting is that he is the only one of the nine GOP senators in any real danger of defeat this fall to make a trip to Cleveland. What prompted such a turn-about for the freshman senator is interesting to ponder.
For many weeks he had stated there was no other place he wanted to be during the convention than the political trail around the Badger State. (Why anyone would forgo a historic visit to a national convention is a mystery to me.) At the same time Johnson repeated that he supports but does not endorse Donald Trump. That is similar to hearing there is a chance for sunshine in the forecast. No one can be blamed for any eventual outcome.
All the cute phrasing and playing with the senator’s agenda has to do with the battle that is playing out in the general election with Russ Feingold. So going into the thundering arena Tuesday Wisconsin politicos were listening to hear any word or tone that would allow for the possibility that Johnson was edging closer to hugging the GOP nominee.
Once on stage Johnson offered far more political rhetoric against Hillary Clinton than offering reasons why Trump was a superior candidate. The senator also blasted Feingold over his vote against the Patriot Act. Johnson summed up his desire that voters should not cast a ballot for either Clinton or Feingold by saying, “The world is simply too dangerous to elect either of them.”
Earlier in the day Johnson talked with USA Today and still seemed uneasy with saying he was totally on board the Trump bandwagon.
Asked if he would endorse Trump, Johnson said: “I’m going to be voting for him. I want to see Donald Trump win versus Hillary Clinton.”
When pressed, Johnson added: “Don’t worry about the words. I’m going to do everything I can to help him win. Sounds like an endorsement to me.”
The reason Johnson is trying to get closer to Trump is due to the notion the GOP will play so hard to win this state’s electoral votes (something the GOP has failed to do since 1984) that there will be a coattail effect.
But it is also clear from Johnson’s conversation with the newspaper that he knows the potential for real blowback from voters in this state who are not warm to Trump. All over the nation the wariness among GOP lawmakers is most evident. Many flocked to Cleveland for the convention but are not expected to stay for Trump’s speech Thursday.
There was no love for Trump that made Johnson travel to Ohio. There was, however, fear for his political future that put him on the podium at the convention. And in politics it is always good to know your opponent is worried.
Score goes to Feingold.