Press Release

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin’s Greatest National Embarrassment Since Joseph McCarthy: He Represents Racism, Supremacy and Bigotry


By - Mar 27th, 2021 08:53 am

“Had the tables been turned and President Donald Trump won the election and those were thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters I would have been concerned,” Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson stated about the January 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.  Five people died in the riot including one police officer and dozens were injured. Prosecutors have charged more than 400 people with crimes and nearly that many had been arrested. Forty people have been arrested for assault on law enforcement officers – this is Domestic Terrorism in its most hateful form.

Ron Johnson has shown an unprecedented ability to make statements that are not based in fact, History, or common sense. Consider other statements of Johnson: “The Affordable Care Act is the single greatest assault on freedom in my lifetime.” “Obamacare is more threatening than Communism.” “We are not acting to thwart the democratic process; we are acting to protect it.”

Ron Johnson has shown a lack of respect for Constitutional Principles, our democratic process, and the rule of law: 1) He joined nearly a dozen other Republican senators pledging to reject the presidential election results when Congress met to count Electoral College votes and certify Joe Biden as President-Elect. 2) In a joint letter by the senators, they claimed the election contained “unprecedented allegations” of voter fraud and violations of law, arguing “the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.” 3) He has called for the creation of a commission with full investigatory and fact-finding authority to conduct an emergency audit of the 2020 election returns. State and Federal judges – some appointed by Trump – dismissed more than 50 lawsuits brought by Trump or his allies alleging election fraud and other irregularities.

A Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press with host Chuck Todd, turned into a shouting match multiple times, with both at one point telling the other to “look in the mirror” and acknowledge their roles in perpetuating conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the 2020 election, and the declining trust in the mainstream media, respectively.

There is growing outcry for Ron Johnson to resign: the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board called on Sen. Ron Johnson to either resign or be expelled from office for his role in spreading disinformation about the presidential election; A local protest included a “Caravan Against Fascism” calling on his resignation; African Americans know the hideous elements of racism and discrimination in this Country.

The Wisconsin NAACP believes Ron Johnson’s behaviors and attitudes disqualify him to hold any public office: we do not trust him; we do not forgive; and we believe he should immediately leave office or be removed from office.  If not, the Wisconsin NAACP pledges to work to prevent his re-election in 2022.

For further information, contact: Wendell J. Harris, President – Wisconsin Conference of Branches, Phone: 414-915-5297 or Email:

Mentioned in This Press Release

4 thoughts on “Ron Johnson, Wisconsin’s Greatest National Embarrassment Since Joseph McCarthy: He Represents Racism, Supremacy and Bigotry”

  1. frank a schneiger says:

    Don’t Underestimate Ron Johnson

    ‘Johnny Iselin” is a United States senator in the 1962 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate. The Iselin character was modeled on Wisconsin’s disgraced senator, Joseph R. McCarthy. There is a scene in which, when asked exactly how many communists there are in the State Department, Senator Iselin looks at a bottle of Heinz Ketchup (“57 varieties”), and says that there are exactly 57 communists in the State Department. In a confrontation with Iselin’s evil wife, a liberal senator says that people see her husband as a clown and a buffoon, “But I do not,” and goes on to say that her husband is a threat to democracy and the republic.

    Just like the fictional senator in the film, Senator Ron Johnson is widely, and increasingly, seen as a clown and a buffoon. As in The Manchurian Candidate, those labels mask the role that he continues to play in threatening and undermining our fragile democracy. For starters, he is a United States senator, and, as such, automatically has a powerful platform from which to spread dangerous lies and misinformation. There have been lots of political clowns and buffoons in history. Mussolini, Huey Long, Joe McCarthy, not to mention Donald Trump, our most recent example. What they left behind was never very funny.

    In this context, Ron Johnson’s mediocrity and vast ignorance make him even more dangerous, simply because he will always remain unaware of and indifferent to the potential consequences of his statements and actions. His responses to the January 6 attempt to overthrow our democracy being only the most dramatic example of the threat that he, along with others, represent. And, like many others who play with fire, Ron Johnson is oblivious to the reality that they don’t ring a bell when it is too late to turn back and “fix” things. Think 1858-59 in this country or August, 1914 in Europe, among many other points of no return.

    Ron Johnson is both a symptom and a product. He is not an accident, or a freak of nature. To begin with, he is a symptom and a product of the corruption of political life in Wisconsin and the transformation of the state into a right-wing plutocracy, albeit a deeply divided one. He is part of the legacy of the age of Scott Walker. Without the dark money of the Kochs, Uihleins, Hendricks, Menard and others, Johnson would almost certainly be back in the plastic factory in Oshkosh.

    As a “businessman,” Johnson was a near perfect “product” for both his sponsors and a constituency long taught to believe that the businessman was the source of all wisdom, and that those in public service are fools and “faceless bureaucrats”. As a result, he has been able, for years, to mask his extraordinary ignorance of substance, law and the most basic principles of democratic governance by constant references to his business genius as the plastics king of Oshkosh. It is simultaneously stunning, but not at all surprising, that the collection of frauds, incompetents, mediocrities, crooks and slimeballs who peopled the Trump Administration have not put the businessman as genius myth to bed forever.

    Johnson is also a symptom and a reflection of the state’s history of bigotry, racial animus and extreme segregation, all of which make it possible to sell plutocracy by playing on themes of white victimization and the undeserving “others.” In Wisconsin’s advanced state of otherization, it was easy for Ron Johnson to casually accept mass deaths from Covid-19. After all, those doing the dying would be mostly “the others,” easily replaceable “surplus populations” that Johnson knows nothing of and that the Republican base disdains.

    Finally, Ron Johnson is both a symptom and a product of the money and race-driven decay of our political life. Johnson gets away with his outrageous lies because the white, increasingly extreme, Republican base wants to believe those lies. Or, as George Costanza of Seinfeld would say, “It’s not a lie if I believe it.” The destruction of trust in our society is like mother’s milk to this group of people, and Johnson has benefitted from it.

    In politics, as in life, there is always a continuum. In the age of Trump, but beginning years earlier, the Republican continuum has shrunken and moved increasingly to the far-right. As a result, the Republican Party, to “win” elections, now needs the racists, neo-Nazis and fascist militias who sought to overthrow our democracy on January 6, along with Russia’s malign support, active voter suppression, and a fascist propaganda outlet, Fox News.

    Just ten years ago, the previous comment would have – justifiably – elicited a “Give me a break!” response. Not anymore, and the clown, buffoon, and conspiracy freak Ron Johnson is up to his ears in all of it, along with his rich backers, at least one of whom helped finance the January 6 assault. Not to mention his complicit fans who regularly post worshipful, lie-filled comments on-line whenever he does something unconscionable.

    Because Ron Johnson is non-ideological, a narcissistic Quisling as opposed to an ideologue, he is even more dangerous. As his recent comments and actions demonstrate, Johnson has no boundaries or guardrails. That is the greatest danger. He is capable of anything. As are – and will be – those in the violent, racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic and sometimes genocidal groups that are now inside the Republican tent. Here is a simple history lesson. Anyone thinking these remarks are hyperbolic should simply google “photos of white people and families celebrating lynchings of Black people.” The “good” Americans in these horrific photos went along with the program, all with the support of the Ron Johnsons, Mark Bellings and Fox News of that time.

    As Mark Twain famously said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but often rhymes.”

  2. Trmott says:

    Hey Frank,
    You really put a lot of work into this opinion piece. I get the idea you don’t particularly like the Senator, who’s arguably the most noxious human ever to live in out fine state, to whit, as you say, “Johnson is also a symptom and a reflection of the state’s history of bigotry, racial animus and extreme segregation.” Obviously he’s a finalist in the competition for “Top All-Time Most Despicable”– US Division”.

    Just a thought, though. It looks as if you overlooked something, or perhaps simply decided it was not particularly noteworthy. Your assignment, should you accept it, is to explain the ways in which this reveals his hard-core bigotry:
    Don’t put it off; don’t save it for the Ron Johnson biography you’ll be penning after the Senator is out of office. Give it your best shot. My first impression when I heard about this initiative on the part of a person who had little to gain from it was, “pretty cool –even inspiring.” But I’ve decided to keep an open mind and hold off on a final assessment pending the Frank A Schneiger interpretation..

  3. Trmott says:

    p.s., Frank. I’ve wondered from time to time why Johnson decided to run for election in the first place. Any thoughts on that? To put it in a few words, “What was in it for him?”

  4. frank a schneiger says:

    Trmott: Thanks for the comments (I think.) A few thoughts. I don’t not like Ron Johnson. That’s not the point. He’s actually more likable than many of his colleagues, and wouldn’t even make the top 10 of unlikable people in Wisconsin, finishing well behind Ed Gein and others. Joe McCarthy was actually likable, but that didn’t prevent him from undermining democracy and destroying many lives.

    Johnson is also, as I noted, a product of a closed-off environment in which business people convince themselves that they are really smart, and everyone who thinks differently is stupid and doesn’t get it. That is compounded by extreme segregation and inequality, which make it easy, almost natural, to “otherize” groups that we don’t know and judge them by their worst members, a bad habit that is hardly limited to white people or conservatives. What is most dangerous about this norm is to begin to see these groups as “surplus populations.” And Ron Johnson is, I believe, there, as many of his comments and actions indicate.

    Final note: why he ran for office. Here, I think Johnson isn’t much different from the pack, Republican or Democrat. Ego, power, being told by some inner circle that you will be great and believing it.

    What do you think?

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