Changing How Primaries Work Probably Won’t Make Politics Less Divisive

Source: FiveThirtyEight
by Geoffrey Skelley

“Republican candidates around the country are trying to win over former President Donald Trump’s supporters before the 2022 midterm elections, so it’s no surprise that many are choosing to go all in on the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. The idea is that by embracing this lie, they might boost their electoral chances; it’s one reason many GOP lawmakers haven’t disputed this falsehood. This extreme jockeying would seem to support the argument that our primary elections greatly contribute to the increased polarization and conflict we see in our politics. Yet, as a report from the think tank New America by FiveThirtyEight contributor Lee Drutman details, primaries are not really a major catalyst for why Congress is so polarized — thus, changing how primaries work may not actually do that much to fix the problem.” (07/19/21)