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Friday, August 19, 2022  
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Cheney's Defeat End of an Era for GOP  08/18 06:05


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Liz Cheney's resounding primary defeat marks the end of 
an era for the Republican Party as well as her own family legacy, the most 
high-profile political casualty yet as the party of Lincoln transforms into the 
party of Trump.

   The fall of the three-term congresswoman, who has declared it her mission to 
ensure Donald Trump never returns to the Oval Office, was vividly foreshadowed 
earlier this year, on the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

   As the House convened for a moment of silence, Cheney, who is leading the 
investigation into the insurrection as vice chair of the 1/6 committee, and her 
father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, stood almost alone on the Republican 
side of the House floor.

   Democratic lawmakers streamed by to shake their hands. Republicans declined 
to join them.

   "Liz Cheney represents the Republican Party as it used to be. ... All of 
that is gone now," said Geoff Kabaservice, vice president of political studies 
at the center-right Niskanen Center.

   What comes next for Liz Cheney is still to be determined.

   "Now the real work begins," she said in an election night concession speech 
in Wyoming, summoning the legacy of both Abraham Lincoln and his Civil War-era 
military and presidential successor Ulysses Grant in her campaign against Trump.

   Cheney could very well announce her own run for the White House -- unlikely 
to win a hostile Republican Party's nomination but to at least give those 
opposed to Trump an alternative.

   Overnight, she transferred leftover campaign funds into a new entity: "The 
Great Task." That's a phrase from The Gettysburg Address.

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

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

   But it's a view that has no home in today's GOP.

   Trump is purging the Republican Party, ridding it of dissenters like Cheney 
and others who dare to defy him, shifting the coast-to-coast GOP landscape and 
the makeup of Congress.

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

   If Republicans gain control of the House and Senate in the November 
elections, the new Congress is destined to be remade in Trump's image. However, 
his influence may in fact cut two ways, winning back the House for Republicans 
but costing the party the Senate if his candidates fail to generate the broader 
appeal needed for statewide elections.

   "It's just a party of Donald Trump's fever dreams," 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 have had important influence in Washington, from 
the time Dick Cheney first ran for Congress -- later being elected vice 
president -- to the arrival of his daughter, elected in 2016 alongside Trump's 
White House victory.

   Identified with the hawkish defense wing of the Republican Party, the 
Cheneys with the Presidents Bush represented a cornerstone of the GOP in the 
post-World War II era, when it thrived as a party of small government, low 
taxation and muscular foreign policy.

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

   But the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol changed all that.

   Cheney was unequivocal, laying blame for the attack on the defeated 
president and his false claims of voter fraud and a rigged election.

   Trump "summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of 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 booted her from party leadership. When Democratic 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Cheney to the 1/6 panel, her exile was all but 

   Trump gloated at Cheney's GOP primary defeat Tuesday night, deriding her as 
"sanctimonious" and a "fool" for suggesting his claims of a rigged election 
were false.

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

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

   On Fox News, conservative author Charlie Kirk called Tuesday's election a 
"mass repudiation" of the Bush-Cheney-McCain era.

   Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who replaced Cheney in House GOP leadership 
and endorsed Hageman, said in a statement she was glad to see Pelosi's "puppet" 

   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 that he joined, casting his first presidential vote for 
Dwight Eisenhower.

   "What's happened to our party is a fear of Donald J. Trump," Simpson said.

   Founded in the mid-19th century, the Republican Party's core conservative 
values have shifted in the Trump era into a strain of politics that is more 
inward focused on grievances at home and isolationism abroad.

   Those running for Congress include many Republican incumbents who voted 
against certifying Joe Biden's election, amplifying Trump's relentless false 
claims of a rigged election and fueling the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

   And many of the new GOP candidates for Congress are also election deniers, 
according to a tally 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. 

   Cheney walks alone many days at the Capitol, flanked by plain-clothes 
Capitol police who guard her amid an onslaught of violent threats.

   Her mission of denying Trump a return to the presidency can be seen in her 
daily schedule, much of her time devoted to the 1/6 committee deepening and 
completing its work.

   Fellow Wyoming Republican Simpson said he has no doubt what's next for 
Cheney: "She'll mount a new set of horses and ride to the finish line."

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