Skip to content
Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

Looking for Midterm Drama on the Democratic Side? Sorry

This year’s Republican primary contests are likely to affect general election outcomes and even the fate of US democracy. That’s why they’re getting all the attention.

His outfit is interesting, anyway.

His outfit is interesting, anyway.

Photographer: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Most of the focus during midterm primary season has been on the Republicans. Rightly so; after all, not only are there important internal fights playing out in GOP nomination battles, but the outcome could determine the fate of US democracy. It’s a huge story that Pennsylvania Republicans have chosen a candidate for governor who appears ready, if he is elected, to certify the Republican presidential candidate as the winner of the state’s electoral votes regardless of what voters say.

It’s also the case that Republican primaries appear to be more likely to affect November outcomes. That Pennsylvania candidate, state Senator Doug Mastriano, is widely seen as a terrible general election candidate — so much so that the Cook Report and other neutral rating groups shifted the race from toss-up to leans Democratic after the primary results were in. The same would have been the case had Pennsylvania Republicans chosen Kathy Barnette, a participant in the Washington protest marches that culminated in the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021, as their Senate candidate.