In the few days after January 6, it appeared the Republican establishment that had tolerated four years of naked corruption and frequently undisguised racism had finally lost its patience with Donald Trump. A Mike Pence adviser said the vice-president was “done with Trump’s bullshit.” Kevin McCarthy, whom Trump customarily addressed as “My Kevin” as though he were his manservant, had a private screaming match. Several candidate members publicly resigned, and Murdoch-owned media outlets called for his resignation.
By the end of January, all the momentum to purge Trump had dissipated. Instead the party settled on a fragile internal peace, with Republicans who favored violent insurrection to hand Trump an unelected second term working alongside those who didn’t. That armistice is now ending. The momentum has now completely reversed, and the Republican party is in the process of liquidating all internal dissent against Trump’s authoritarianism.
The current theater of conflict is a looming purge of Liz Cheney from her position as House conference chair, the third-ranking position in its leadership. Cheney’s crime is that, unlike almost every other prominent Republican not named Mitt Romney, she hasn’t budged from the posture she adopted January 6. Rather than accept the facts on the ground — namely, that the party’s base overwhelmingly believes Trump’s lie that Joe Biden stole the election — Cheney has continued to affirm the legitimacy of Biden’s win and denounce Trump’s coup. [Continue reading…]