What is a moderate republican

These are the most important lessons to be learned from moderate Republicans

No racists or hardliners, but Trump voters nonetheless: After the 2020 US election, moderate Republicans will be politically homeless in the US. The historian Manfred Berg explains how the moderate Republicans view the election and why it is so difficult to switch to the other camp.

More about the USA under Donald Trump here

Than the Americans Donald Trump elected their president four years ago, the Germans looked across the Atlantic with incomprehension: How could a man become president who insults women, expresses himself openly racist and spreads fake news almost every day?

Much has been analyzed and commented on since then: Trump's voters are above all Low educated whites, he scores with evangelical christians and in rural areas - not all Trump voters are racists. The fact that it is rather economic motives that often lured Trump voters to the polls is now considered a commonplace: especially in the industrial heart of the USA, the "Rust belt"In 2016, many voters voted for Trump in the hope of new jobs and prosperity.

Also US author Jonathan Foer warned in the run-up to the 2020 US election against a generalization: "Not all Trump voters are racist, ignorant and violent," said Foer of the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica". They often have understandable reasons for their decision, live in "half-poor" and feel like losers. So no hardcore Republicans, but those who finally want to go down the winning road. What about you in 2020? Here are the main lessons.

Lesson 1: Trump moderate voters critically endangered

Manfred Berg is a historian at the University of Heidelberg, has been researching American history and politics for more than 30 years. He says: "The 2020 election was - unlike 2016 - no longer a protest election. In this election year everyone knew who Donald Trump is and what to expect from him." Moderate Trump voters are therefore one of the Endangered species. "The term is almost a contradiction in terms," ​​says Berg.

Exit poll analyzes by CNN show that for most US voters the following applies: Those who voted for Trump four years ago did so in 2020. But while the incumbent president saw an increase in Latinos and blacks, his approval in the camp crumbled the moderates. 2016 still voted 40 percent of those who describe themselves as politically moderate, for Trump - this time only 33 percent. Farmers who can no longer sell their soybeans to China and those who are through Trump's corona policy have become unemployed - such former voters may have alienated Trump.

Lesson 2: Republicans partially voted Biden

Apparently some of them could also be a Democrat Joe Biden to convince. The New York Times writes that many of Biden's well-educated supporters from the suburbs were this time among the right-wing voters without party affiliation or among the moderate Republicans who otherwise like candidates JohnMcCain and Mitt Romney would have supported. The report says: "However, this time they absolutely want to prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected. To do this, they are ready to jump over their shadow and elect a Democrat - but only a moderate one mass-compatible candidates."

Expert Berg also says: "There are certainly some moderate Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 and now for Biden in 2020 - because they wanted to see predictability and a minimum of dignity and decency in the White House again." One must not forget, however, that both sides are mainly due to their enormous growth Mobilization of one's own camp - not by winning over voters from the other party.

Lesson 3: Covering Your Nose in the Trump Election

Among the moderate Trump supporters are also so-called "One-issue voter", recalls expert Berg. He cites the evangelicals as an example." They vote for Trump because they place hopes in him during cultural struggles. Because Trump has three conservative judges on Supreme Court delivered and the evangelicals have great hope that soon that Fundamental judgment on abortion overturns"explains the historian.

Under these conditions, some are ready to vote for Trump, even if he does not display the lifestyle that an evangelical voter considers exemplary. So some Republicans must have held their noses in the election of Donald Trump. "There are also conservative Jewswho see Trump as Israel's best friend and consider all other policy areas to be of secondary importance, "adds Berg.

Lesson 4: Moderates perish in the camp election campaign

Expert Berg is nevertheless certain: "In normal political times, a president with the record of the Trump administration, his style of government and the blatant failure in combating the corona crisis would have been clearly voted out." Trump received just under 72 million votes - so even 9 million more than in 2016. That is remarkable and can only be explained by the fact that 2020 is a Camp election campaign was, says Berg.

"The choice shows that sharp division in American society into a red and blue nation, "he says. In doing so, you experience negative party identification:" You may not like your own party on every point, but the ideological aversion to the other party is so sharp that you do not vote for it "explains Berg.

Lesson 5: Moderate Republicans Become Homeless

According to Berg, this makes moderate Republicans who do not want to vote Trump desperate - they can be called "politically homeless" describe. "Up until the 1980s there was still a liberal wing of the Republicans - it voted with parts of the Democrats on many civil rights issues. But it disappeared because they Republicans become more ideologized have ", explains the expert.

The Republican party establishment has long since lost control. "At least since Sarah Palin John McCain was forced into being the vice presidency candidate in 2008 Tea party movement radicalized the Republicans more and more and Trump de facto took over the party, "commented Berg.

Lesson 6: Moving to Democrats unlikely

But what will happen to the moderate Republicans now? "In one Two-party system one would fundamentally assume that the moderate Republicans, who feel that their party no longer represents themselves, would switch to the Democrats at some point, "says Berg.

Something like this has already happened in the past: "In the 1970s, for example, there were conservative Democrats who switched to the Republicans over civil rights issues, and during the Cold War, too, Democrats who did not like the détente switched to the party and became so-called Reagan Democrats", recalls Berg.

The current political situation, however, makes a change to the other camp much more difficult than in earlier times. Reason: "The Democratic Party is moved further to the left and the Republican Party is clear in terms of their ideological coherence and with their leaders moved further to the right", analyzes Berg. The rift that lies between the parties has become significantly larger.

Lesson 7: Change of course is not expected

A particular thorn in the side of the Republicans: One supposedly left economic policy. Berg says: "An economic and social policy that is even remotely social democratic cannot be chosen by conservative Republicans." So it's no wonder that Trump keeps doing that in the election campaign "Socialism" bugbear served. Trump had described the election as a "decision between a socialist nightmare and the American dream" and tried again and again to label Biden as a socialist.

If a change of camp does not appear to be an option for moderate Republicans, they cannot at the same time expect a change of course for the "Grand Old Party“hope.” Trump has not been punished by the voters, he has not suffered an embarrassing defeat. There is no reason for the Republican Party to deviate from its successful model, "commented expert Berg. The party base of the Republicans is one White Nationalist Populism Movement and Trump your authentic leader.

Lesson 8: Support Out of Fear

That the moderate Republicans are barely noticeable in public - so far have only five of 48 Republican senators the Election result officially recognized - has a reason: "Trump has proven to the elected officials of the party that he is a great mobilizer of his own camp. Many of the candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives have benefited from it and are currently holding him in his campaign, the election result to torpedo loyalty as much as possible, "analyzes Berg.

Many Republicans would know that there was no election fraud and that Trump just doesn't want to admit defeat. "You have seen, however, that for about ten years now Republicans who position themselves in the primary elections in such a way that they arouse the anger of the radical base are often voted out of office," says Berg. Trump had mobilized the increasingly radical base so much that Republican officials would have to fear opposing him because they would then be punished in the next primaries.

About the expert:Prof. Dr. Manfred Berg is a historian at Heidelberg University and holds the Curt Engelhorn Endowed Professorship for American History at the Department of History. He studied history and political science and is a member of the scientific advisory board of the German Society for American Studies

Sources used:

  • CNN.com: Exit Polls - National Results. Status: 11/11/2020
  • "NYTimes.com": "Never Trump," Republicans Will Support Biden, Not Sanders
  • "NYTimes.com": Why Trump’s Efforts to Paint Biden as a Socialist Are Not Working