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Dem Senate Hopeful Asked if the 2016 Election Was 'Rigged,' Suggested Washington Is Not a Top President

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The Democrats’ Senate candidate in Wisconsin has shared some interesting views on Twitter in the past.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighted several Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’ (D), who is running for the Senate, tweets.

Early on the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, as the country was taking in the news that former President Donald Trump had won the election, Barnes asked on Twitter, “The election was, rigged?”

Barnes’ aides claim the tweet was meant as a joke.

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The tweet remains visible as of Thursday morning. But if someone tweeted a similar sentiment about the 2020 election, they would be labeled an election denier and possibly a “MAGA Republican.”

In 2017, he tweeted, “Donald Trump is a Russian spy. Believe me.”

The Journal Sentinel noted, “At that time, Trump was frequently using the phrase ‘believe me’ when he made an outrageous claim. Barnes appeared to be riffing on that while making a point that was common in some liberal and media circles.”

He also appeared skeptical about the Second Amendment establishing a right to bear arms. In 2013, Barnes wrote, “I really could not care less about a 2nd Amendment ‘right’. Bear arms all you wish, but you should pay for your mishandling.

And in 2013 remarks, Barnes said, “You get that argument from everyone: ‘It’s the Constitution. You have the right to bear arms. You’re not going to take my guns.’

“They want to clamor to a document that is centuries old and is flawed,” he added.

Barnes also dismissed the idea that George Washington should be seen as a top president.

He shared a tweet from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos that labeled Washington a “top President’ and wrote, “Yeah. I mean, if slave owning is your thing, have at it!”

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Yes, Washington did own slaves — several of the United States’ founding fathers did.

But the nation’s first president also made the decision to free his slaves upon his death. That obviously does not erase the fact he was a slave owner. It is, however, a noteworthy fact.

You can disagree about Washington’s administration, his policies, and whether he was an effective president. But he did leave a lasting legacy for the institution of the presidency. Everything he did was precedent-setting for the office.

And probably his most notable precedent was deciding to peacefully give up power after just two terms — something that nearly every president has followed since.

Barnes is, of course, perfectly free to express those views. And Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) has expressed some wild views too.

But Wisconsin voters will have to decide if either of their views are acceptable to them.

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