Published May 12, 2022
As primary season heats up in what is likely to be another explosive election year, political strategists are putting their fingers to the wind to determine just how much of a stranglehold former President Donald Trump maintains over the Republican Party. Although signals have certainly been mixed so far—unsurprising in such a large and diverse country—last week’s GOP primary in Ohio offers particularly helpful clues. J.D. Vance, the celebrated author of Hillbilly Elegy, walked away with the Republican nomination to run for retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman’s seat in November, thanks to Trump’s endorsement. Vance won 32 percent of the vote in a crowded field. Does this tell us something about the continued strength of “Trumpism,” or is the news the fact that 68 percent of Ohio voters remain unswayed by the former president?
In making sense of Ohio’s primary—a raucous contest that featured a record $66 million in combined spending by the Republican candidates—it might be helpful to distinguish between the three varieties of Trumpism.
Brad Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the founder and president of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute–Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, S.C., with his wife, Rachel, and four children.