There’s no denying that Liz Cheney is a staunch conservative Republican. She almost always voted for President Donald Trump’s bills. But then came the 2020 presidential election and Trump’s attempt to tilt the outcome in his favour. Cheney, then a member of parliament himself in the building, was probably deeply shocked when an angry mob, incited by Trump, stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Her faction rallied behind Trump once the initial shock wore off. Cheney, however, placed himself at the forefront of the Republican resistance. In the House of Representatives, she voted to impeach him and is a leading figure on the committee investigating January 6th. She declared that Trump should never get into the White House again – and castigated her party colleagues for their allegiance to Trump.
Opponent supported by ex-president
Her supporters, including Democrats, found that she was one of the few Republicans with a conscience who stood protective of the constitution and democracy, who hardly found anything in common with Cheney in terms of content. But in her own party and in her faction, Cheney is an outcast.
And now she’s also paying the price of resistance at the ballot box: she was literally punished in the Republican primaries in her state of Wyoming. A clear majority voted for challenger Harriet Hageman. Their actual election in November is just a formality in very conservative Wyoming. Hageman has Trump’s full support.
In Wyoming, the most sparsely populated state in the USA, he organized one of his infamous “rallies” for Hageman – a sign of how badly he wanted to force Cheney, his bitter opponent, out of office. This is part of a vendetta against all those Republicans who turned against Trump and did not support his lie that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Critical attitude will be punished
Of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach him in the House at the time, only two won their party primary, the others lost to Trump candidates or did not run for re-election.
Trump dominates the party base. This can also be seen elsewhere: With a few exceptions, Trump’s candidates have prevailed in the internal party primaries. In key states like Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin, Trump has nominated his Senate and governor candidates.
They stand with Trump, which means they believe (probably more or less convinced) in the 2020 election stolen myth. And when federal police recently raided Trump’s Florida residence looking for classified documents, party leaders rushed to defend him.
Obviously still Trump’s party
This also applies to Wyoming, where he won 70 percent of the votes in 2016 and 2020. Liz Cheney knew that she was threatened with being voted out. But her role in the Trump Resistance earned her national admiration, including in the Democratic camp.
She remains in office for the time being, but she can continue her work on the committee investigating January 6. And even if the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney loses her seat in the House of Representatives, nobody expects her to leave the political arena.
USA correspondent for Radio SRF
Andrea Christen is the foreign correspondent for Swiss Radio SRF and is responsible for North America. Previously, he was deputy editor-in-chief of SRF 4 News. He has been working for SRF since 2010.