Our 2020 book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good.
After multiple tries and candidates, the House GOP finally settled on a speaker: Mike Johnson of Louisiana. He has never chaired a committee or held a high leadership post. He got the job because his lack of experience (elected 2016) left him with few enemies. He is largely unknown outside of his district and the House GOP. Picking someone who has never withstood national scrutiny has some disadvantages.
The decision to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker and replace him with a little-known congressman, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, has left a glaring financial gap for House Republicans headed into 2024 when the party has to defend its narrow and fragile majority.
Mr. McCarthy’s political operation brought in more than 100 times the amount of money that Mr. Johnson has collected so far in 2023 — $78 million to roughly $608,000, according to federal records and public disclosures. And in Mr. Johnson’s entire congressional career, dating to his first run in 2016, the Louisiana Republican has raised a total of $6.1 million — less than Mr. McCarthy’s average monthly take this year.
The willingness of House Republicans to trade a party rainmaker for a member who has raised less than some more junior colleagues has caused a deep sense of uncertainty at the highest levels of the conference, even as relieved lawmakers united behind Mr. Johnson to end weeks of political paralysis.
“Mike Johnson is not known to be a prolific fund-raiser. He’s raised money to meet his needs in a noncompetitive seat in Louisiana,” said Tom Reynolds, a former New York congressman and past chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “It remains to be seen: Can he raise money to help the members when it comes time next year?”
In editorials that ran in his local Shreveport, Louisiana, paper, The Times, Johnson called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.”
And, in another editorial, “Your race, creed, and sex are what you are, while homosexuality and cross-dressing are things you do,” he wrote. “This is a free country, but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.
At the time, Johnson was an attorney and spokesman for Alliance Defense Fund, known today as Alliance Defending Freedom, where he also authored his opposition to the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas – which overturned state laws that criminalized homosexual activity between consenting adults.
ADF wrote an amicus brief in the case which supported maintaining criminalization.
“States have many legitimate grounds to proscribe same-sex deviate sexual intercourse,” Johnson wrote in a July 2003 op-ed, calling it a public health concern.
“By closing these bedroom doors, they have opened a Pandora’s box,” he added.
On Thursday, Johnson was asked to respond to KFile’s report on the editorials during a lengthy interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“I don’t even remember some of them,” Johnson told Hannity.