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CNN political analyst Nia-Malika Henderson said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., essentially has no political parties at this point, joking on Wednesday her party now appears to be “Beltway Media.” .
Cheney, who had won her three previous elections in the House General District of Wyoming in landslides, lost nearly 40 points to Donald Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in Tuesday’s Republican primary. However, she signaled in her concession speech and in subsequent interviews that she was not disappearing. Perhaps the most prominent anti-Trump Republican in elected office due to her work on the House Jan. 6 committee, Cheney has suggested she could run for president in 2024 and will strive to keep Trump out of power.
Henderson noted that Cheney’s speech, which invoked Abraham Lincoln’s political defeats before being elected president in 1860, was “grand in its language”, but was skeptical of Cheney’s broader prospects.
“We’ll see,” Henderson said. “In many ways, Liz Cheney is a non-party person. I mean, her party is in many ways the Beltway media. And, you know, she could get great profiles in The Atlantic, and maybe that ‘she would get a cable news contract. But as far as having real Republicans following her, we can see it in the polls, we can see it in the results of this race, but her, you know , is a person on an island in his party.
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Trump is “winning the battle” to weed out opposing voices within the party, Henderson noted. Most of the candidates Trump has backed in various races have won their primaries, although some notable Trump-backed candidates, such as in Georgia, have been defeated.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection in 2021, and she has since become a media darling as part of of the House committee on January 6. While she had a heavily conservative voting record and was broadly supportive of Trump’s agenda in the House, her outspokenness against him over his stolen campaign rhetoric and conduct around the Capitol riot has alienated Republicans in Wyoming enough to make his defeat on Tuesday a foregone conclusion.
Cheney has never been popular with the media as the House’s No. 3 Republican — she was fired from that position earlier this year — and has even been insulted at times; NewsBusters reported that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews fired her in 2010 as “Dracula’s daughter”. However, as an anti-Trump figure, she received largely favorable media coverage, although some progressives bristled at her conservative views.
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She remained defiant in the loss on Tuesday and raised her eyebrows when she mentioned Lincoln, the first Republican president and one of the nation’s most revered people.
“Our party’s great and original champion, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in the Senate and House elections before winning the most important election of all,” Cheney told his supporters. “Lincoln finally prevailed, he saved our union and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of history.”
She noted that her “path was clear” to victory again in Wyoming, but that would have required coming to terms with “President Trump’s lie.”
“A few years ago, I won that primary with 73% of the vote. I could easily have done the same thing again,” she said.
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Critics said Cheney lost touch with her own constituents and, led by Trump, rejoiced in her defeat.