It can be said without much exaggeration at all that Republicans are the party of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Adam Kinzinger is an ostensibly conservative young Representative from Illinois. Those who take a superficial look at him might think that conservative voters would find a lot to like about him. After all, he was an Air Force veteran who voted against impeaching Trump in 2020 over the utterly manufactured nonsense that Democrats dredged up about Ukraine, and it’s claimed that he voted in favor of the Trump administration’s policies 95% of the time.
And yet, he’s done some extraordinarily questionable things of late. He voted to impeach Trump in January of 2021, even though there was no more evidence that Trump was guilty of any wrongdoing that time than there was the first time — namely, none at all.
This was such a shocking turnaround that even Kinzinger’s own family members wrote a letter to him rebuking him for his vote.
Kinzinger also felt the need to virtue signal about “QAnon conspiracies,” even though it’s abundantly clear to all thoughtful observers that the QAnon phenomenon was almost certainly manufactured by the deep state in order to divert the energies of Trump supporters to useless things. After all, Captain Emily Rainey, an Army Intelligence official, was present at the Capitol riot, and it’s still not clear why.
Moreover, he also voted recently in favor of background checks for the purchase of firearms, which gun rights supporters know is only a prelude to eventual confiscation.
What is going on here? Why is Kinzinger such a turncoat? Was he always so spineless, or has something happened to him?
Even though it’s a given that the establishment GOP is useless and corrupt and would sooner die than do the right thing for the American people, there is also a more mundane political reality underlying Kinzinger’s betrayal.
It’s called redistricting.
Redistricting Has Consequences
Redistricting is the periodic process of redrawing the boundaries of congressional districts within states. This is done every 10 years, supposedly to reflect population shifts, but it can be used for political purposes as well.
Since Illinois has lost population according to the 2020 census, that can lead to the removal of one of its 18 congressional districts.
Because the state legislature in Illinois controls redistricting and is majority Democrat, that district is almost sure to be a Republican district.
In order to minimize his chances of being on the chopping block, Kinzinger has begun shifting to the left.
There are four Republican congressional districts in Illinois. Three of them border on Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky, which are all deep red states. The only district to which this doesn’t apply is Kinzinger’s. That makes him the most vulnerable.
Moreover, Kinzinger wouldn’t be able to run for a seat in any of the three other Republican districts without changing his residence.
In short, Kinzinger’s waffling is all part of a political strategy. He’s doing what he thinks he needs to in order to survive.