A new report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a deep dive into the inner psyche of Mandela Barnes – probing his 18,400 tweets to paint a picture of a deeply radical, militant progressive whose views are far out of step with mainstream Wisconsinites.
“I would probably say I spend too much time online,” Barnes, 35, said in a February 2021 interview. “I can be reading too, but I spend a little too much time online.”
But what’s he saying on Twitter?
A lot. What we get here is an unvarnished and free-wheeling political candidate touching on a number of interesting and controversial topics over the past decade.
Early on, he demonstrated his liberal leanings by suggesting that progressives who move to the center are “compromising all integrity.” He once jokingly referred to lefty U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, known by her initials AOC, as “my president.” He imagined using the COVID-19 pandemic to revamp society.
“We should drastically reimagine society, our communities, and what quality of life actually means in a moment like this,” Barnes tweeted in March 2020, just as coronavirus was starting to spread.
Barnes asked in November 2016 if the presidential election had been “rigged.” Months later, the first-term Democrat declared Donald Trump, then president, a “Russian spy.” More recently, he dismissed the notion that George Washington was one of the country’s top presidents.
Barnes once said he “really could not care less about a 2nd Amendment ‘right’” to bear arms. He also criticized House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana for not changing his position on gun control after being shot in the hip during practice for the Congressional Baseball Game in 2017.
“Taking one for the team,” Barnes wrote even as Scalise was using crutches and a scooter to get around the Capitol. “I question how people vote against self interest but this is next level. He literally almost died on this hill.”
As Barnes has gone into hiding during his Senate campaign, dodging reporters and interviews to escape public scrutiny, it’s easy to see why. His handlers wouldn’t want him to say what he actually believes out loud!