Analysis: A non-American’s guide to the 2022 US midterms
When asked to explain why he didn’t vote the way he has been voting, he told the Times: “I’m a conservative. And, I have a religious belief. And I don’t think it would be right to just blindly vote your party line and not support the candidate you think is best for the country.”
It is hard to imagine a more telling admission than this one. Conservatives have in recent years seen their party and the country slip from the center to the right, despite the fact that over the last five years, their leader, Donald Trump, has been the worst president in the history of modern American politics (in terms of job approval, his approval rating has sunk to below 45 percent). Trump’s supporters have also become highly intolerant, a phenomenon that has now become the defining characteristic of the Republican Party.
A number of GOP politicians who have moved to the right have been successful in their campaigns (and often in their careers), including Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie.
But, while some Republicans have abandoned the party’s hard-right ideological purity and embraced it — as well as conservative foreign policy — others have never really been able to go beyond their base. Trump, for example, has been able to reach out to the far-right, such as Steve Bannon, and there is little doubt that he will continue his presidential campaign in the coming months.
But what about the Republicans who have chosen to move toward the center? As I write this, they are in the middle of the House “blue wave” which will likely result in them picking up seats and the party losing some of its seats. In many ways, they should be pleased with the results of the last congressional election, but they are not.