Congresswoman Elizabeth Cheney, the U.S. Representative for Wyoming's at-large congressional district since 2017 & the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, has managed to demonstrate the extent of the Republicans' virtually undying commitment to the twice-impeached former President Trump but what does her removal tell us about the condition of the GOP?
Until the 12th of May, 2021, U.S. House Representative Elizabeth "Liz" Lynne Cheney, was the House Republican Conference Chair & the third most powerful Republican in the House. Her great treason? She didn't bend the knee, she didn't keep her eyes shut, & she criticised the great American messiah, Donald J Trump. But as it turns out, Cheney is a force to be reckoned with & even though my beliefs & hers have as much in common as salt & sugar, I admire her for the actions she's taken in the past few months. Before that devastating day in January, Rep. Cheney's relationship with President Trump had been quite pleasant. She, a staunch conservative, had voted along party lines & in favour of more than 90% of Trump's policies. She is one of the most conservative politicians in the entire U.S. Congress & is rated to be more conservative than Trump himself. In 2016, Cheney was the type of politician who would be deemed a true Republican & Trump a RINO (Republican in name only). The tables have flipped in a matter of four short years. It's enough to make you wonder whether the GOP is the party for conservatives or devotees of Trumpism.
The entire world witnessed an insurrection on the shrine of democracy with intense horror. Thousands of far-right militias, white supremacists, & other extremists desecrated the hallowed halls of the US Capitol building. The mobs beat the very people they defended in 2020, Confederate battle flags were waved, & the result of months of lies & brainwashing unleashed itself. & then we saw an even more unpredictable sight: Lindsey Graham & a few other Republicans denouncing Trump in front of their colleagues. Of course, others didn't have this abrupt change of heart & objections regarding the certification were still made. Days passed & an overwhelming majority of the GOP reverted back to admiring Trump. Liz Cheney was not one of them. She was one of the ten Republican House representatives who voted in favour of Trump's second impeachment. Even though House Republican Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, backed her decision, that was the beginning of the inevitable end.
Wyoming is a small, rather rural, & deeply red state with a population of just below 580,000. So much so, in fact, that President Trump accumulated almost 70% of the total votes during the 2020 elections. This means that Cheney's constituents are some of Trump's most loyal supporters & although she won by a margin of more than 40%, her reelection isn't as foreseeable as it was last year. Her comments & criticism have enraged voters. The way they view it, the woman they chose to represent their beliefs & values voted on behalf of her interest, not theirs. Doing so would have secured her political career.
Even though Cheney isn't going to be bolstered by many of her House colleagues, at least she has a few who support her in the Senate. The GOP is divided right now; approximately 2/3rds wish to sustain Trump's ideologies due to hopes of reclaiming the House & the Senate in 2022. The other 1/3rds wish to pull the plug on the support of a president who lost them the legislative branches & the White House in the first place. The unofficial leaders of the latter are Rep. Cheney, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), & Rep Adam Kinsinger (R-IL 16th District). This movement's future lies in the hands of the 2022 midterm elections - the ultimate litmus test of whether or not Trumpism is going to work beneficially for the Republican Party. Its results will also be determined by the calibre President Biden's work. But today's vote made one thing crystal clear: the GOP & Trump won't be parting ways anytime soon.
A former Republican Senator, Jeff Flakes, claims that most of his colleagues don't believe Trump's claims on mass election fraud (often referred to as "the big lie") but their constituents do so the congressmen & congresswomen are more or less inclined towards promoting it. Those who do will reap its rewards. Those who don't will encounter the threat of losing their position. While I can't confirm whether or not his claims are veritable, they most certainly don't lack evidence. Cheney's intended replacement, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY 21st District), was once the youngest woman elected to Congress (before Rep. AOC's victory in 2018) & a shining beacon of hope for bipartisanship. Today, she's an extremely partisan but moderately conservative Republican. Rep. Stefanik voted in favour of nearly 80% of Trump's policies - a figure lower than that of Cheney's. She is, however, a stern believer of the big lie. What can we conclude from this & the two-page letter released today in which she bombarded the press & Nancy Pelosi? The GOP is no longer the GOP of Abraham Lincoln; it is now unfortunately a haven of borderline conspiracy theorists & Trump. Even as a progressive, it breaks my heart to see what one man could do to one of the most renowned conservative parties in the world.
The Democrats have their faults, no doubt. Every party & person does. Their leaders are old & aren't left enough for some or excessively down the left for others. To their credit, what most of them don't do is spread conspiracy theories. Maybe there will be a day in their lifetimes when Republicans realise how much their rhetorics have polarised their base. I don't have anything else to say other than this: there are no good or bad parties, just good or bad people & one bad apple can ruin the entire basket. There used to be a day when Democrats defended slavery & the Republican Party was considered minority-friendly. Politics is a static playground; anything can change at any time. So that's why the only thing we can do is voice our opinions & hope it brings change.
-by Rayansh Singh