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Larry Hogan: the GOP’s antidote to the MAGA Right

Is Larry Hogan the new Joe Manchin? Credit: Getty

May 18, 2024 - 4:00pm

Larry Hogan, former Republican governor of heavily blue Maryland and current nominee for an open Senate seat, could become the chamber’s next powerful moderate.

Hogan won the Republican primary this week and has a strong chance of winning in the general election, while he enjoyed strong approval ratings throughout his time as governor despite his Republican affiliation.

As a longtime Donald Trump critic who’s fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Hogan represents an old guard of Republicans who occupy the opposite end of the spectrum from the populist groundswell which has taken over the party since 2016. For example, Republicans are slowly moving to the Left on economic issues, with growing support for paid family leave and organised labour, while Hogan blocked a proposed minimum wage increase and paid sick and family leave. The former governor has also rejected the populist Right’s isolationist streak on foreign policy, arguing for the necessity of sending aid to Ukraine.

With narrow margins in the Senate, moderates gain outsize power and influence as both parties are forced to veer to the centre to win their votes. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who split with his party on clean energy because of his state’s economic reliance on the coal industry, was often a key swing vote during his time in office, and he was able to block Democrats’ goal of including climate provisions in a massive legislative package in 2022.

Hogan will likely occupy a similar role from the opposite side of the aisle, moderating his party on social issues while joining the GOP establishment on spending. In an apparent effort to maintain his popularity among Democrats, Hogan this week came out in favour of codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law, which would block restrictions on abortion throughout the first six months of pregnancy, having said little on the issue while serving as governor.

He would follow the path of retiring Republican senator Mitt Romney, whose breaks with the party have included a 2020 vote to convict Trump in his impeachment trial and support for the creation of a commission to investigate the January 6 riot.

Americans have an appetite for candidates who don’t fall neatly into party lines, as Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s strong performance in the presidential race has demonstrated. Hogan’s campaign views his moderate bona fides as a selling point, and the politician emphasised this in a February op-ed. “We must allow real and honest conversations to take hold on even the most challenging issues of the day,” he wrote. “That’s the only way we will take back our politics from the extremes. And only then can we begin to fix the broken politics of Washington.”


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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R Wright
R Wright
1 month ago

Lionising boring neocons is so very 2015.

Allen Z
Allen Z
1 month ago

I hope Larry wins. In addition to focusing on border enforcement and reducing National Debt, Larry should talk about woke nonsense. For example, the Democrats (and I assume his opponent) are for allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports. Make this an issue in your campaign.

Kat L
Kat L
1 month ago
Reply to  Allen Z

So you didn’t actually read about him?

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 month ago

“Liberal”: A “moderate Republican” who wants to mug reality. See also “useful idiot.”

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
1 month ago

We know what the Republican party has become – a vehicle for the ego of a moron, supported by spineless groupies who will do literally anything, humiliate themselves time after time, to gain favour with an oaf who will dump them the second it suits him.
We all know that the far right loves dictators but even I am surprised that you have chosen such a ludicrous clown to be your fuhrer… I knew you were dumb but I didn’t think you were this dumb.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 month ago

Where you get the idea that Donald Trump is a dictator? He’s popular because he understands how the world works and he gets things done. He’s not a stuffed shirt like Joe Biden or a stuffed blouse like Kamala Harris.
Donald Trump does have his weaknesses, but so does every leader. As management expert Peter Drucker put it, strong people have strong weaknesses. Those with weak weaknesses tend to be mediocre at best and incompetent at worst.
The Republican Party (as I see it at least) supports Donald Trump for what he does rather than what he is. If he ever did turn into an entitled fuhrer type, he would lose my support, and most other conservatives as well.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You’re throwing pearls before swine.

Geoff W
Geoff W
1 month ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

“[H]e gets things done.”
Yes, terrific job building that wall. And dealing with Covid.

Christopher
Christopher
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff W

What wall he was able to bet funded was removed and construction stopped with Biden. Knowing now what we know about Covid says one thing. It was used to blame Trump y inflating it’s fatality and lying about masks, natural immunity and shutdowns. Power trumps the citizens.

Christopher
Christopher
1 month ago

TDS clouds one’s thinking. The Dems didn’t learn their lesson in 16 and are doubling down for 24. It’s his message, one only leftist pov can’t see. Even Bill Clinton couldn’t be elected by todays left. I’d always wished Trump would be more Reagan/Obama with his delivery. But then again , his message will again survive the shark infested swamp of politics. Biden has little to run on and power dictates destruction of your political opponent at all costs.

I can only imagine how the powers that call the shots are kicking themselves being left with Harris.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Antidote, eh? A sort of tincture, perhaps?
If one could bottle the “Inside the Beltway” milieu, Miss Duggan’s little dispatch here would be saturated in it.
On the nose, it smells of Paul Ryan with notes of Mitch McConnell. Hints of Mitt Romney and Chris Christie toward the back. Ben Sasse and Lisa Murkowski in the finish. Yes, a heady blend of RINO indeed.
You buried the lede, Lauren. To wit, Larry Hogan is the Machine’s choice to help preserve Business As Usual.
He’s an establishment GOP functionary. To rank him with “the old guard” of Republicans is to say that he’s a Bush-brand politician, mainly concerned with maintaining the Neocon power structure.
Hogan is a great poster boy for the controlled opposition, which for decades has been carefully losing every battle that matters to true American Conservatives.
She quotes Hogan: “We must allow real and honest conversations to take hold on even the most challenging issues of the day,” he wrote. “That’s the only way we will take back our politics from the extremes. And only then can we begin to fix the broken politics of Washington.”
Do you possible think by “extremes” he’s talking about DEI or Trans Activism or Palestinian agitators or anything on the NeoMarxist Left?
Of course not. He means the Middle Class electorate as embodied by Donald J. Trump.
What he’s really saying to voters is “Trump threatens our power structure. We prefer you not see behind the curtain. Just get back to work and stop asking questions, and let us continue the Kabuki of Official Washington”.
Sorry, Larry. True American Conservatives want a secure border. They want sane monetary policy and a true free market. They want to stop printing money and incurring debt. They want their kids to be able to afford a home. They do not want to fund a proxy war against Russia, nor an open Eastern European war in two years- in which their children will have to fight.
The stakes have never been higher for the future of the United States, and the crony GOP establishment wants to install Larry Hogan to be their next Yes Man in the Senate. Tells you all you need to know about the forces opposing Trump.

Kat L
Kat L
1 month ago

He’s the typical squish Republican that gave away the country to the insane leftists. There’s nothing I find more loathesome than anyone who says they are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. What have these ghouls ever conserved except tax cuts and never ending wars?? I want these people purged from the party.