Fear of Being Primaried

The current structure of our primary elections is a significant factor in driving candidates and incumbents to the extremes. We know this, and I’ve written about some of the evidence for it here, but it’s always useful to hear about this from candidates and officeholders who directly experience this on the ground. Here’s an excerpt from today’s NYTimes story on the Republican Party in Arizona:

There has been little political upside for moderate and more establishment Republicans in Arizona to speak out against the party’s far-right wing. Instead, the handful of them who have done so have faced protests, censure from local Republican organizations and harassment. Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who has repeatedly defended the state’s 2020 election, has received death threats.

“There’s not enough pushback,” said State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican who is not running for re-election. “Because everyone is afraid of a primary.”

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