Johnson is â€œlittle more than a placeholderâ€ for former President Donald Trump who â€œcould care less about what Wisconsin Republicans think,â€ the newspaperâ€™s editorial board wrote in the stinging essay published Wednesday.
The Times ripped Johnson as â€œa delusional hucksterâ€ and a political grifter in the article that charted the paperâ€™s own 105-year history alongside the evolution of Republican politics, for the worse, in the state.
â€œWeâ€™re not naÃ¯ve. We donâ€™t imagine that dislodging Johnson in his own partyâ€™s primary is a likely prospect. But we do believe that he should be challenged, sincerely and aggressively,â€ the editorial board said, suggesting a serious GOP primary challenger could expose â€œhow out of syncâ€ he is with traditional GOP values.
â€œBy confronting and exposing the incumbent as the charlatan he is, such a challenge could lay the groundwork for the slow but necessary restoration of the honor of the Grand Old Party, which has been so severely damaged by political grifters such as Ron Johnson,â€ the board concluded.