The Democratic party has been increasingly attempting to paint Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Johnson, as a boogeyman within the context of American political discourse. The move comes as a direct effort to stifle political consensus among Republicans, while also positioning Johnson as a villain among Democrats as well.
The strategy has been in motion for roughly the last two years, focusing on criticizing the Speaker for not supporting Democratic initiatives in Congress associated with issues such as healthcare, immigration, and gun control. Notably, during the government shutdown of 2018-19, Johnson refused to budge on Democratic demands concerning a border wall, setting up a significant conflict between party lines.
The primary intention of the attack is to create political division, especially when conversations begin circulating about common ground between the two sides. Along this same vein, the Democratic party has been quite successful in pitting Johnson as a obstructionist within the Congressional setting. This characterization is damaging for Johnson, considering he and his Republican colleagues backed away from the aforementioned government shutdown fifteen days in, revealing an ultimate lack of strength on the part of his party in negotiating with Democrats.
The strategy is remarkably potent in creating a negative opinion of Johnson among Democratic politicians and voters alike. Although the move itself, obviously, does little to ultimately to enact policy change, it casts an increasing amount of attention on the Speaker and his policies. As a result, the impact of concentrating discourse on Johnson’s perceived shortcomings ultimately damns him as a decisive and nuanced decision-maker to Democratic eyes.
The Democratic party’s attack on Speaker Johnson in the public sphere is an intelligent and effective strategy for diminishing the possibility of an ultimate political consensus between the two sides. Despite Johnson’s actual behavior during the government shutdown of 2018-19, which likely cost him favor with his Republican colleagues, Democrats are aiming to paint a narrative of evil and rampant obstructionism in the public eye. While the attack itself is rather mundane in the scope of legislative policies, it nonetheless reveals an effective strategy for swaying opinion and quietly shifting political division between Republican and Democratic politicians alike.