What the House speaker's election denialism could mean for the 2024 race

Mike Johnson helped lead efforts to keep Trump in power in 2020. What will he do the next time around?

Mike Johnson (R-La.) gives his first comments as speaker of the House
(Image credit: Matt McClain / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

New House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) isn't just another MAGA Republican: He's a true believer —  one of the architects of former President Donald Trump's failed, false efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Then he was a relatively minor figure. Now? The New York Times reported that some Democrats are nervous that Johnson's new prominence could play a role in 2024. "Given his history," said one observer, "we will have to be on our guard."

Johnson "never repudiated" his efforts to keep Trump in office, The Washington Post noted. The ingredients at play in 2020 appear likely to repeat in 2024: The same likely candidates — Trump and President Joe Biden — as well as the probability of a close election. Congress has reformed the Electoral Count Act since the last election, to limit mischief, but the speaker would still have "significant power to shape the rules" if no candidate gets a majority of electoral votes and the election gets thrown to a House vote. 

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Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.