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GOP Couldn’t Uninstall Trump Ransomware

(Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.)


There are still six states left to hold primaries between now and the middle of September. Those contests certainly have significance for locals in places like Massachusetts and New York, where general elections are often not competitive, and the Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire could matter in the battle for control of the upper chamber of Congress.

But with this week’s Wyoming primary and its long-foreshadowed defeat of Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, we can say that the tale of the 2022 primary season has been told. There were several different trends—the revenge of the Democratic mainstream, efforts at primary reform, shifting issue sets, and the struggle over the conduct of elections themselves among them. There’s no question, though, that since the process started five months and millions of votes ago, the main point of contention has been the degree of loyalty among Republicans to former President Donald Trump.

The punishing fight among Republican factions that has raged since at least the party’s loss in the 2012 presidential election has intensified, despite Trump’s 2020 defeat and the sacking of the Capitol that followed. In a midterm election that party leaders had hoped would unite the right and focus on an unpopular sitting president and grinding inflation, Republicans in their primaries showed almost no ability to set aside their own civil war. Nor is there any question about which side came out ahead.

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