The real primary test

By Miles Taylor, Executive Director

Primary season officially began in earnest this month, and the Republican battles are being sold as a test of Donald Trump’s grip on the party. But the real test won’t be which Trumpy candidates win; it’s whether rational right-leaning candidates can defeat them. Our political parties are moving to the extremes in part because their candidates are chosen by a small, heavily partisan primary electorate. In many states and “safe” districts across America, primary voters will essentially choose their representatives rather than the general electorate. So we can expect some, if not most, Trumpy candidates to succeed this spring and summer.

However, in some places, independent, pro-democracy candidates are giving moderate and center-right voters another option come November—Evan McMullin in Utah (U.S. Senate), Clint Smith in Arizona (U.S. House), and Chris Vance in Washington (State Senate), for example. From federal to state to local offices, democracy is on the ballot again in 2022, and the primary is the best chance to defend it. But while the pro-democracy movement will have wins and losses this primary season, keep an eye out for these independent candidates in the general. And most importantly, vote. Every chance you get.

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