Published August 3, 2022
Republicans would like the midterm elections to be a referendum on the Democrats. But that won’t be easy to pull off, as Tuesday’s primary outcomes show.
The Republican path to victory in November is easy to discern. Nominate broadly acceptable candidates who can stroke the MAGA base while appealing to moderates who backed Joe Biden. Focus attention on the president’s perceived failings, especially on inflation and immigration. Make the midterms a “change” election that lets conservatives and independents express their displeasure with the way things are going. Defer important questions about what the GOP intends to do with its power until after the election and simply reap the rewards that accrue from running against an historically unpopular president.
Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.