|Cody Johnson leaves Beulahland Baptist Church in Beulah, Ga.,
where he voted in the state’s runoff election for U.S. Senate.
Republicans’ midterm shortfall left many political observers asking, “How did that happen?” As the dust settled, the answers included this: an undercurrent of American resistance was making its way through the country. It may have been exemplified by a man named Cody Johnson in northwest Georgia, writes Stephanie McCrummen of The Washington Post.
On Election Day, “Nearly everything about Cody Johnson suggested he would vote a certain way,” McCrummen writes. “He was white. He was 33. He was an electrician with no college degree. He had a beard and a used pickup with 151,000 miles, and he was angry at what the country was becoming. Most of all, he was from northwest Georgia, a swath of rural America where people who looked like him had voted in large majorities to send Donald Trump to the White House.”
But Johnson voted against U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom he called ”an embarrassment,” and against Trump-backed Senate candidate Herschel Walker because he didn’t want “some stupid s— to happen,” he told McCrummen, who sums up, “He voted against every single Republican on the ballot for the same reason he supported Joe Biden in 2020, which had been the first time he voted in his life.”
“I don’t want extremists in office,” he said. “And I have some small glimmer of hope that maybe things aren’t as screwed up as I think they are.”
Johnson’s resistance was not singular. McCrummen writes: “All across the country, a similar uprising was underway as an unexpected tide of people showed up for midterm elections, turning what was supposed to be a rout for the Republican Party into a repudiation of Trumpism. In Arizona, voters rejected candidates who embraced white nationalist ideas and conspiracy theories about election fraud. In Pennsylvania, they rejected a candidate who said America is a Christian nation. Similar results had rolled in from New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia and other states including Georgia, where Walker would lose in a runoff earlier this month. Even in the deep-red 14th Congressional District, Greene saw her winning margin from 2020 slip by 10 percentage points.”
Neither pollsters nor politicians can see the stories that make up a life. In the case of Johnson, McCrummen writes, “it is the story of a thousand life experiences that add up to a certain kind of American character, one that can arise from the very landscape where the Trump movement took root.” To explain how he got where he is politically, he and McCrummen took a trip “across the 14th District, an area that stretches from the Appalachian foothills to the outermost edges of Atlanta’s sprawl.” It’s an engrossing read.