Has a bloc of voters emerged that is not only alien to the American system of governance but toxic to it?
“The central weakness of our political system now is the Republican Party,” Daniel Ziblatt, a political scientist at Harvard, said in an interview with Vox on Jan. 13, a week after the storming of the Capitol.
“The American Republican Party looks like a European far-right party,” Ziblatt continued. “But the big difference between the U.S. and a lot of these European countries is that the U.S. only has two parties and one of them is like a European far-right party. If the G.O.P. only controlled 20 percent of the legislature, like you see in a lot of European countries, this would be far less problematic — but they basically control half of it.”
A central question, then, is how distant from the rest of the American electorate the voters who align themselves with the radical wing of the Republican Party are.
Rachel M. Blum and Christopher Sebastian Parker, political scientists at the Universities of Oklahoma and Washington, conducted a two-wave panel study of the MAGA movement in late December 2020 and the second half of January 2021 that was designed to answer this question and others.