Cheney’s thrashing Tuesday is telling of GOP’s direction

That candidates willing to spread the 'big lie' are winning primary races says as much about the GOP as it does about Cheney's mettle. She recognizes that ideology and party loyalty should not matter when facing a fundamental threat to democracy.

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Editorials

August 17, 2022 - 3:25 PM

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) gives a concession speech to supporters during a primary night event on Aug. 16, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming. Rep. Cheney was defeated in her primary race by Wyoming Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)

“If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) recently told the New York Times, “then that’s a price I’m willing to pay.” On Tuesday, her state’s voters came to collect.

Ms. Cheney’s defeat in Wyoming’s GOP congressional primary was predictable — and yet no less dispiriting. Polls had her trailing the eventual victor, Harriet Hageman, by a substantial margin. But no numerical analysis was necessary to see how far out of step Ms. Cheney had become with a Republican Party over which former president Donald Trump still holds so much power, even after his role in one of the nation’s darkest days: Jan. 6, 2021.

Where many Republicans (including her opponent) say the 2020 presidential election was rigged, Ms. Cheney refuses to participate in election denialism. Where nearly all of her House colleagues refused to join Democrats in their efforts to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, Ms. Cheney has played a central role on the select committee seeking to hold to account those responsible. Her participation lent bipartisan legitimacy to the undertaking; her knowledge of her own party’s politics proved invaluable to understanding how that day’s horrible events came about.

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