frankel140_Joshua LottThe Washington Post via Getty Images_republicans midterms Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Why Do Americans Vote for Extremists?

American voters seem set to hand Republicans control over Congress and key state offices in November’s midterm elections, owing to anger over high inflation and fear of recession. But while the Biden administration has made some mistakes, the US economy is stronger than it looks.

CAMBRIDGE – American voters seem poised to hand the Republican Party control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate as well, in November’s midterm elections. The same goes for many state races, where polls show Republicans gaining ground.

Such an outcome could have profound consequences for American democracy, especially if it results in even greater degradation of the US electoral system. Given the large number of 2020 election deniers running for offices in 2022 and the enormous power over how votes are cast and counted that victory would give them, this prospect is increasingly worrisome.

The Republicans’ likely midterm victory is baffling. The Party is now dominated by an extremist faction whose prominent members claim (or have claimed) not only that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, but also that climate change is a hoax, COVID-19 is a conspiracy, and former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. While many Republicans do not say such things (and many who do probably do not believe what they are saying), the Trumpian extremists are in charge.