The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

What’s Left: You Should Be Scared of Mike Johnson

After weeks of debate, three potential candidates and one ballot measure, Mike Johnson was finally elected as the Speaker of the House. Johnson, who is now second in line for the presidency, was voted into office with unanimous support from the Republican party. With weeks of a divided, chaotic Republican party struggling to find a candidate to rally behind, it’s surprising to see that Johnson’s path to the Speaker of the House was anything but chaotic. 

Mike Johnson is a Republican representative of Louisiana’s 14th district. In terms of policy agenda, he’s very straightforward: his party platform stands on a commitment to reinstate Christian-conservative values to the American government, protecting the right to life and preserving the intuition of marriage — which means banning same-sex marriage.

In addition to having unanimous support from the Republican party, Johnson was also endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Although President Trump isn’t as much of a ultra-conservative Christian evangelical as Speaker Johnson, they share an interesting connection to the Council for National Policy (CNP).

The CNP is an “educational foundation that dates back to the first Reagan administration,” according to NPR, with an agenda to provide support to conservative candidates and push their right-wing policy agenda. The CNP has pockets so deep that it makes their political reach virtually invincible. The organization keeps its pockets filled through access to seemingly unlimited funds from the Big Oil industry. In the book “Shadow Network” by Anne Nelson, Nelson seeks to document the connections between “the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.” Many of these connections, she writes, were made possible through the CNP, whose members have included such familiar names as Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, former White House strategist Steve Bannon, the Christian Coalition’s first executive director Ralph Reed and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.

In 2016, President Trump’s struggling campaign was boosted by a deal with the CNP. In exchange for rallying Christian leaders to support his campaign, Trump was given a list of conservative judges that the CNP wanted to be selected for the Supreme Court when a seat opened up. The same organization that helped Trump win the election in 2016 and established a conservative majority in the Supreme Court that overturned precedent cases like Roe v. Wade is standing behind Speaker Johnson —and here’s why that should scare you.

Currently, Mike Johnson is focused on rallying Democrats and Republicans behind a spending bill that will satisfy both parties. Once he is able to pass that bill, his attention will likely shift to the upcoming presidential election. Based on his actions during the most recent presidential election, it’s likely that Johnson would interfere with the smooth transition of power that normally exists during elections. 

In 2020, Johnson was the legal force driving the attempt to overturn the election. He accused state election officials of breaking the law by providing Americans with mail-in ballots and access to early voting based on independent state legislator theory. He argued that these election provisions overstepped the state legislators’ authority over elections. Distorting this constitutional clause aims to shift the power into the hands of state legislators and give them unlimited power to engage in gerrymandering and voter suppression without any checks. Furthermore, I believe it’s an absolutely baseless claim to accuse state election officials of overstepping by providing access to more voting provisions during a pandemic. In my opinion, election officials should be praised for protecting the right to vote despite the lockdown restrictions.

You should be scared of Mike Johnson because he’s made it clear that he has no problem with interfering with an election. Now that he is second in line for the presidency, it’s likely that he will use his power to subvert the next presidential election. Chris Lehmann, a writer for The Nation, shares these worries.

“One reason that the January 6 coup effort didn’t go further was then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s insistence on continuing the joint session of Congress convened to approve election results amid the chaos of the Capitol riot; it’s a colossal understatement to say that a Speaker Johnson would be unlikely to follow that precedent,” Lehmann wrote. 

Mike Johnson is more than a government official. He’s an agent of the ultra-conservative Council of National Policy. With their deep pockets and inventory of Conservative candidates, I encourage readers to consider the influence of the Council of National policy — the outcome of the next election may be in their hands. 

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