Kinzinger: Using 'fear and darkness' will win midterms in 2022, cost GOP in long run

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerCheney hits Gingrich for saying Jan. 6 panel members may be jailed Jan. 6 committee subpoenas leaders of 'America First' movement Kinzinger welcomes baby boy MORE (R-Ill.) in a new interview said Republicans’ campaign tactics that utilize “fear and darkness” will help them win in next year’s midterm elections, but will ultimately hurt the party in the long term.

“I think in the short term, stoking division, using the fear and darkness, will win the midterms in 2022. In the long term, this will destroy the GOP. Or it will destroy the country, because this is an unsustainable path,” Kinzinger told CNN political commentator and anti-Trump Republican S. E. Cupp during an interview for Rolling Stone, published Monday.

Kinzinger’s comments came in response to Cupp asking if Republicans who enabled former President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE will pay a price for doing so. The six-term congressman answered that he doesn't believe there will be in the near future, before turning to his prediction on the state of the GOP moving forward.

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Kinzinger has been critical of the Republican Party in recent months, at times denouncing his congressional colleagues for spreading false claims that there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election and knocking them for their continued allegiance to Trump.

The Illinois congressman was one of 10 GOP House members to vote for Trump’s second impeachment following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and he is one of two Republicans, along with Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden faces Ukraine decision amid Russia aggression Cheney hits Gingrich for saying Jan. 6 panel members may be jailed The Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe MORE (Wyo.), serving on the House select committee probing the deadly January attack.

Kinzinger announced late last month that he will not seek reelection next year, putting an expiration date on a 12-year House career that began in 2011 when he unseated a Democratic incumbent.

The 43-year-old congressman denounced the stark partisanship in Washington in his announcement video, criticizing both parties for trying to appeal to their most extreme elements.

Days before the announcement, Illinois Democrats put forth proposed congressional maps that would have situated Kinzinger in the same district as Rep. Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodThe US must act now on trade and economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific and China  Four states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022 GOP Rep. Mary Miller announces reelection bid with Trump endorsement MORE (R), which would have set the scene for a potentially fierce intraparty battle in the state.

Asked if he blames his decision not to run again on Republicans, for driving GOP members like him out of the party, or Democrats, for drawing the congressional map the way they did, Kinzinger put the onus on the latter.

“I blame Democrats for drawing that map. And I think that what it says to people is that you want Republican allies in the defense of democracy until it’s politically advantageous to not. To me, that means they don’t understand how real the threat to democracy is,” he said.