Democrats are setting their sights on the newly elected Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson (R-La.), aiming to make him a controversial figure.
Their strategy involves highlighting Johnson’s conservative voting record in the House.
After Johnson was elected Speaker, President Biden’s campaign didn’t waste any time in sending out a fundraising email that branded Johnson as “a Trump lackey.”
In addition, the House Democratic campaign arm offered messaging guidance, referring to Johnson as “Jim Jordan in a sports coat.”
This concerted effort to tarnish Johnson’s image is also being felt beyond the Beltway, with the Virginia state Democratic party cautioning that Johnson’s election elevates the importance of the state’s upcoming Legislature elections next month.
The core of the Democrats’ attack revolves around Johnson’s strong support for former President Trump and his stances on contentious issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, and overturning the 2020 election results.
Democrats are betting that these positions will alienate swing and independent voters.
Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist, noted, “MAGA Mike certainly gives us the necessary tools to put in our toolbox to build a case.”
Johnson’s rapid rise to prominence is linked to his role in drafting an amicus brief supporting a Texas lawsuit contesting the 2020 presidential election results.
Furthermore, Johnson is recognized as a critical advocate for the anti-abortion movement, backing legislation that restricts abortion rights.
He has also supported proposals reducing funding for Social Security and Medicare, a contentious issue.
While Johnson’s ascent is indeed meteoric, some Republicans believe it’s too early to determine how much of a liability he will be for vulnerable candidates.
House Republican strategist Ron Bonjean pointed out that centrists within the Republican party will likely hold Johnson accountable, ensuring he doesn’t veer too far to the right.
As the political battle unfolds, Johnson, dubbed “MAGA Mike” by Democrats, asserts that he represents a more moderate stance within the Republican party.
His interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News highlighted his views on various issues, which he maintains are mainstream and not dictated by the far right.
In response, Democrats challenge this notion, asserting that Johnson’s political report card does not reflect a moderate position.
For now, Speaker Johnson’s tenure remains uncertain, leaving both parties closely watching the evolving political landscape.