Cheney’s defeat ends an era for the GOP; Trump party now

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Liz Cheney’s resounding primary defeat marks the end of an era for the Republican Party as well as its own family legacy, the most publicized political casualty yet as Lincoln’s party transforms into Trump’s party.

The fall of three-term MPwho is on a mission to ensure that Donald Trump never returns to the Oval Office, was strongly announced earlier this year, on the first anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

As the House convened for a moment of silence, Cheney, who is leading the insurgency investigation as vice chairman of the 1/6 Committee, and her father, former Vice Chairman Dick Cheney, stood almost alone on the Republican side of the House. floor.

Democratic lawmakers rushed to shake their hands. The Republicans refused to join them.

“Liz Cheney represents the Republican Party as it was. … All of that is gone now,” said Geoff Kabaservice, vice president of policy studies at the center-right Niskanen Center.

What comes next for Liz Cheney remains to be determined.

“Now the real work begins,” she said in a concession speech on election night in Wyoming, invoking the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and his wartime military and presidential successor. civilian, Ulysses Grant, in his campaign against Trump.

Cheney could very well announce his own candidacy for the White House — unlikely to win the nomination from a hostile Republican Party, but at least give those who oppose Trump an alternative.

Overnight, she transferred the remaining campaign funds into a new entity: “The Great Task”. It’s a line from the Gettysburg address.

“I will do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office,” Cheney told NBC’s “Today” show early Wednesday. Pressed, she said running for president “is something I’m thinking about and will make a decision in the coming months.”

Whether she runs or not, her belief that Trump poses a danger to democracy runs deep in her family.

But that’s a view that has no place in today’s GOP.

Trump is purging the Republican Party, ridding it of dissidents like Cheney and others who dare challenge him, changing the GOP landscape from coast to coast and the makeup of Congress.

Of the 10 House Republicans including Cheney who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, on Capitol Hill only two candidates remain for re-election. The rest have retired or, like Cheney, have been defeated by Trump-backed challengers.

If Republicans take control of the House and Senate in the November election, the new Congress is destined to be remade in Trump’s image. However, its influence may actually cut both ways, winning back the House from Republicans but costing the party the Senate if its candidates fail to generate the broader appeal needed for statewide elections.

“It’s just a Donald Trump fever dream party,” said Mark Salter, a former longtime Republican aide to the late Sen. John McCain.

“It’s just Donald Trump’s club.”

For 50 years, the Cheneys had a significant influence in Washington, from the time Dick Cheney first ran for Congress – later elected vice president – ​​until the arrival of his daughter, elected in 2016 alongside Trump’s victory in the White House.

Identified with the hawkish defense wing of the Republican Party, the Cheneys along with Presidents Bush represented a cornerstone of the GOP after World War II, when it flourished as a party of small government, low taxation and a tough foreign policy. .

Liz Cheney never wavered, chosen by House GOP colleagues in the same position her father held, the No. 3 Republican in the House, his highest-ranking wife.

But the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol changed everything.

Cheney was unequivocal, blaming the attack on the defeated president and his false allegations of voter fraud and a rigged election.

Trump “summoned this crowd, got the crowd together and lit the flame for this attack,” she said at the time, announcing her vote to impeach.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy initially defended Cheney but quickly reversed as Republicans ousted her from the party leadership. When Democratic Chair Nancy Pelosi nominated Cheney to the 1/6 panel, her exile was nearly complete.

Trump gloated over Cheney’s defeat in the GOP primaries on Tuesday night, calling her “moral” and a “fool” for suggesting that his claims about a rigged election were false.

Trump had rushed to the Cowboy State to rally around Harriet Hageman, who was once highly critical of him, but beat Cheney by kissing the former president, backed by McCarthy and other party leaders.

Cheney’s defeat follows that of the last Bush in public officeJeb’s son, George P. Bush, who was defeated in the Texas attorney general’s Republican primary by Trump-backed Ken Paxton in May.

On Fox News, conservative author Charlie Kirk called Tuesday’s election a “massive repudiation” of the Bush-Cheney-McCain era.

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who replaced Cheney as House GOP leader and endorsed Hageman, said in a statement that she was happy to see Pelosi’s “puppet” defeated.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who served in Congress alongside Dick Cheney and has known Liz Cheney since she was a child, says he can no longer recognize the party he joined, voting for the first once in the presidency for Dwight Eisenhower.

“What happened to our party is a Donald J. Trump scare,” Simpson said.

Founded in the mid-19th century, the Republican Party’s core conservative values ​​morphed in the Trump era into a political strain more focused on grievances at home and isolationism abroad.

Among the candidates for Congress are many Republican incumbents who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election, amplifying Trump’s relentless misrepresentations about a rigged election and fueling the Jan. 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill.

And many of the new GOP candidates for Congress are also Holocaust deniers, according to a count by Democrats.

“The House is – should be – the People’s House,” said former Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida. Instead, he said, “It’s controlled by Mr. Trump,”

Cheney walks the Capitol alone for several days, flanked by plainclothes Capitol police guarding her amid an onslaught of violent threats.

His mission to deny Trump a return to the presidency can be seen in his daily schedule, with much of his time spent delving into and completing the work of the 1/6 Committee.

Fellow Wyoming Republican Simpson said he had no doubts about Cheney’s sequel: “She’ll ride a new train of horses and ride to the finish line.”

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