In a supremely ironic editorial, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wants the will of the voters completely disregarded and Congress to EXPEL three sitting members of Congress: Sen. Ron Johnson, and Reps. Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald.
This is wrong.
The newspaper is missing the irony completely when it argues that the trio should be expelled because it says they supported not certifying Pennsylvania’s and Arizona’s election results. They think the three were disregarding the will of the voters so in response they want to disregard the will of the voters who put them in Congress in the first place? Got that?
Furthermore, the withering newspaper wants Johnson expelled for votes he didn’t even take, since he ended up voting to certify the election results. He also said he would have certified Wisconsin’s. “We needed to have the debate, but we also need to respect the rule of law and our constitutional constraints,” Johnson explained to AP of his vote to certify the election. Hardly expulsion material.
Tiffany condemned the rioters, saying, “What needs to happen is people on both sides of the aisle, they need to start calling this out and make people stop it.” Hardly expulsion material.
1.47 million people voted for Ron Johnson in 2016.
More than 109,000 people voted for Tom Tiffany in 2020.
More than 265,000 people voted for Scott Fitzgerald in 2020.
Yet, the Journal Sentinel doesn’t think their votes matter.
Look. If the voters think Johnson, Tiffany, and Fitzgerald acted too egregiously to serve, they can vote them out. The newspaper and all others are well within their rights in a free country to criticize their actions or comments.
Expulsion is different. That’s wrong.
The newspaper’s editorial accuses the members of Congress of inciting or giving aid to an “insurrection.” That’s unfair. It implies that a vote against certifying an election is, to quote the dictionary definition of the word insurrection, supporting “a violent uprising against an authority or government.” We see zero evidence that Johnson, Tiffany or Fitzgerald have supported violence/the appalling rioting in the Capitol by fringe, extremists (some of whom advocate bizarre, nutty QAnon conspiracy theories.) We would also note that the left spent four years trying to undermine a free and fair election by weaponizing the FBI, misleading the FISA court, falsely claiming the president was a sleeper agent for Russia, and endlessly claiming he didn’t really win. Although two wrongs don’t make a right, we don’t recall similar outrage.
“Please, if you are in or around the Capitol, respect law enforcement and peacefully disperse,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “The Capitol Police have acted with incredible professionalism. I sincerely thank them for their service and condemn all lawless activity.”
“Peaceful protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right and that right must be protected for all Americans. Violence is unacceptable,” wrote Tiffany.
“My thanks to law enforcement for their efforts to restore order and I strongly condemn the violence that was inflicted on the men and women of law enforcement doing their duty,” wrote Fitzgerald.
Hardly comments giving aid to insurrection. It’s possible to raise questions about election integrity and oppose violence.
The left’s so-called principles on these issues are never consistently applied. One could argue that the misleading claims of widespread unjustified “police violence” – and false claims that, say, Jacob Blake was unarmed – incite riots, arsons, and violence against police officers. If you don’t think the claims of widespread, unjustified “police violence” are misleading, look up the statistics. But the left never seems concerned about facts like that.
Again, the newspaper says the politicians played a role in “inciting violence.” Strong words. But we see no evidence that any of the three has supported violence. Disagreeing with the election results is not the same thing as supporting violence.
There are two key points to be made here. One involves left-wing overreach in response to the rioting. The Journal Sentinel’s expulsion call is just one of many examples of the left’s overreach in response to the appalling rioting at the U.S. Capitol. And let us be clear: The rioting was truly appalling. The people who did the rioting should, unlike the rioters in, say, Portland, have the book tossed at them. They should also be repudiated in the strongest of terms. We do so here. We condemn them in the strongest terms. They don’t – and shouldn’t – represent conservatism in America.
However, the left should not, in response, purge conservatives from Congress and censor countering viewpoints. Such overreach (booting the president off Twitter and now advocating that free and fair elections be overturned through expulsion) is not only wrong, but it’s also going to add fuel on the fire of an already divided country.
The second point is that, no, we don’t think that President Trump has presented smoking gun evidence to back up his claims that the election was stolen from him. In Wisconsin, he did present some solid evidence of irregularities or legal questions that were his right to raise in court (such as questions about Democracy in the Park and absentee voter rules). The courts, however, rejected them (granted with the alliance of supposed conservative justice Brian Hagedorn). But if you don’t like that, vote Hagedorn out when you can. That’s how our system works.
We believe that the proper way to challenge an election is in the courts.
Thus, we don’t think it was the right decision to vote against certifying the election. Absent smoking gun evidence of fraud so large it would actually overturn the results in Trump’s favor, the will of the voters matters there too. We did not see enough evidence of fraud so sweeping that the election should be overturned (the Journal Sentinel’s wrong when it says there was NO evidence of fraud; but we don’t think there was enough evidence to indicate Trump won. Too big of margins in too many states). But just because we would have made a different decision doesn’t mean those who disagreed should be expelled, essentially overturning the votes of almost 2 million Wisconsinites.
The will of the voters matters.
Do better JS.