Mike (Election Denier) Johnson Gets the Speaker’s Gavel October 25, 2023
Well, well, well. The GOP, aka, “The Gang That Can’t Govern Straight,” finally made the “fourth time the charm.” After throwing out House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Steve Scalise (R-LA) failed to get the Speakership when he couldn’t obtain the necessary 217 votes. Extremist firebrand Jim Jordan (R-OH) fell short. Tom Emmer (R-MN) lasted for just four hours as ”Team Red’s” third nominee. Finally, after making themselves look like complete imbeciles, on October 25, 2023, Republicans, including their ”moderates,” (LOL), united behind Mike Johnson (R-LA). In the House chamber where the GOP has a five-vote margin, Johnson finally prevailed with 220 votes v. 209 for Democratic Minority Leader, NY’s Hakeem Jeffries on a complete party-line vote (nytimes.com, 10/25/23). Johnson is not very well known nationally but comes across to fellow lawmakers as affable and not a fanatic as does Jim Jordan. However, don’t be at all fooled by his demeanor. Johnson, according to many Democrats and other observers, is “Jim Jordan in a suit.” Johnson, unlike Scalise and Emmer, has no experience in the GOP leadership and has never even served as a key committee chair. Johnson, in fact, called Jordan “a very close friend who has been a mentor to me since I got here (to Congress).” Jordan gave money to Johnson’s first campaign and started providing advice to him from the beginning (nytimes.com, Karni, 10/25/23, & Broadwater & Eder, 10/25/23). Meet Speaker Johnson.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (51) is a fourth-term congressmember from Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District (CD). The LA 4th includes the cities of Shreveport and Bossier City. Unlike Catholic New Orleans, this northwestern area is heavily Protestant and part of the Deep South. Oil and gas are key industries here. Although 34% of this CD is Black, over 60% is White, and the 4th has an R+14 Cook PVI score. Donald won here in both 2016 and 2020 by 24 points, 61%-37% (Cohen & Cook2022 Political Almanac).
Shreveport native Johnson received a 1998 law degree from Louisiana State University. An evangelical Christian, he staunchly pushed for his beliefs to be enacted into law. Elected to the LA State Legislature in 2015, he enacted a bill that prohibited a “dismemberment” procedure for second-trimester abortions. He was first elected to the House in 2016, and has been easily re-elected (Cohen & Cook 2022).
In the House, Johnson co-sponsored a 20-week abortion ban and called the day the Supreme Court overturned “Roe v. Wade” an “extraordinary day in American history.” He has long opposed sending aid to Ukraine (Karni, nytimes.com, 10/25/23). Johnson has a lopsided 73%-27% Conservative v. Liberal Almanac rating.
Cong. Jim Jordan may have been the public face of the attempt to fight the 2020 election win for Biden. However, Jordan’s ”pupil” Johnson was his silent and key partner (nytimes.com, Broadwater et al, 10/25/23). Johnson played a leading role in getting more than 60% of House GOPers to sign on to a Supreme Court brief seeking to overturn Biden’s votes. As an attorney, Johnson presented legal “objections” that GOPers used in Congress to challenge these votes. On a Christian podcast he hosts with his wife, Johnson argued over a year later that he was right to object to these votes (nytimes.com). You get the idea. Speaker Johnson, a proud election denier.
The MAGA set is thrilled that Johnson now has the Speaker’s gavel. Democrats are horrified (See nytimes.com). The only way to take this gavel from Johnson? We must vote in droves in 2024 to recapture the House. This is very doable, since Speaker Johnson’s “Red” House majority only has a five-seat margin. Vote. All elections count.