Disloyalty Will Be Punished in the GOP

We all knew most Republicans wanted Rep. Liz Cheney out of leadership. And now we know exactly why.

A new CBS News poll found that 80 percent of Republican voters agreed with Cheney’s removal from leadership. The poll also asked respondents why they agreed with it, with fairly predictable results.

“Disloyalty will be punished” particularly sticks out as the kind of thing you’re likely to hear in a crappy sci-fi series. It makes sense, though—the GOP has gone full Star Wars, kowtowing to their god-emperor long after his defeat. Far grimmer are the responses to what Republican voters think the party should prioritize in coming elections.

“Push for changes to state voting rules” is a pretty benign way of saying “make it harder for Black and brown people to vote.” Nearly half the party’s voters think that’s the way forward, and you know what? They’re right! Any kind of legitimate nationwide contest between the two major parties would skew toward Democrats. They just have more voters. But if Republicans can make it impossible for a large chunk of those voters to vote, they’ll win. It’s a simple formula that’s been used for decades. The only thing that’s changed is the sham of keeping it quiet. Voter suppression isn’t happening in the shadows or behind closed doors—it’s right out in the open, with the full-throated support of Republican voters.

The poll’s results might seem bleak and anti-democratic. But they’re also a true representation of what’s going on with the GOP right now. Liz Cheney wasn’t in line with party messaging and she’s wrong about the 2020 election—at least to the gullible Republican base, 67 percent of whom still don’t believe Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. And it’s hard to blame Republican voters for thinking the party should follow Trump’s lead in terms of issues and how he treated the media. Trump’s methods worked to seize control of the party, with the presidency, and enrapture Republican voters. Most never felt as good as they did when he was in charge. Why wouldn’t they want his crap to continue?

This poll simply serves as further reminder that the Republican Party remains captured by Trump and Trumpism. There probably isn’t a redeemable version of the GOP, even in an optical, reasonable, let’s-work-across-the-aisle sense. But you knew that. The party’s leaders willfully ignore an insurrection, deny election results, and openly call for restricting voting rights. The base eats it right up. They’re getting comfy in the grip of an authoritarian strongman-turned-golf course greeting blogger. Even after Trump’s gone the rightward shift will continue. He ripped the scab off. The wound is open and festering. There’s no clear ointment for this kind of rot.