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Why Democrats Aren’t Attacking Ron Johnson for His Outlandish Comments

That makes Johnson a prime goal for Democrats, who’re hoping that defeating him will assist them dangle onto their Senate majority. Republican primaries are nonetheless sorting themselves out in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona — which signifies that Johnson would be the Democratic Occasion’s chief villain for the following few months, too.

A number of Democrats are vying to tackle Johnson, although all of them entered the race earlier than they knew he was operating once more. Amongst them are Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, together with Alex Lasry, an government with the Milwaukee Bucks, and Tom Nelson, a county government.

Johnson isn’t the one candidate who has repeated misinformation on the pandemic. In Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz, a star physician who has advocated for utilizing unproven medicine to deal with Covid-19, may change into the Senate nominee for Republicans. Will Democrats assault him for that, or would they go after him as a rich carpetbagger who has been dwelling for years in New Jersey?

Within the pre-Trump world, Democrats actively rooted for opponents recognized for making outlandish or false statements, as a result of they made for simpler targets. Take Todd Akin, a Missouri Senate candidate who was ostracized from the Republican Occasion in 2012 for saying: “If it’s a legit rape, the feminine physique has methods to attempt to shut that entire factor down.” Claire McCaskill, the Democrat who defeated Akin, later confessed to shotgunning a beer when Akin received the G.O.P. main.

Now, nevertheless, many Democrats doubt that feedback like Akin’s would register with voters in the identical manner.

“The distinction can be that as quickly because it occurred, there would simply be a refrain on the fitting that might simply say, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s true. A girl’s physique can simply shut that down,’” stated Jason Kander, a Democrat who fell quick within the 2016 Missouri Senate race.

Candidates, taking their cues from Trump, have additionally discovered to recast their gaffes as daring truth-telling. As Johnson wrote in his announcement in The Wall Road Journal, “Numerous folks have inspired me to run, saying they depend on me to be their voice, to talk plain and apparent truths different elected leaders shirk from expressing — truths the elite in authorities, mainstream media and Large Tech don’t need you to listen to.”

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