The Republican Party has gone through many iterations. From being founded as an anti-slavery Party in 1853, to being the Party of Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900’s, to the Party of Ronald Reagan in the mid 1980’s, and now the Party of Trump in 2016, the Grand Old Party has stood the test of time. But has that old Republican Party outlived its usefulness, only to be shed for the new “populous” Party headed by Donald Trump? Wyoming’s Liz Cheney thinks not.
In the mind of Liz Cheney and other holdovers from the Bush years, the current iteration of the GOP is out of synch with the Traditional Grand Old Party of her father’s generation. It has become apparent the two factions are at loggerheads in light of recent comments by the #3 Republican on Capitol Hill.
When Donald Trump came down the escalator at Trump Tower in NYC that fateful day in 2015, many people on the Left and on the Establishment Right, gave the former Reality Star and real estate mogul, little chance of becoming the 45th President of the United States of America, but Trump was answering a call Establishment Republicans refused to heed.
The 2016 Presidential campaign was one of the most contentious in history. Donald Trump was pitted against not just one or two established Republican hopefuls, he found himself in a dogfight with the titans of the Establishment class. Trump euphemistically called them “The Swamp”. A term for the type of politician who immersed him or herself in a swamp of “do nothing”. Trump was on a quest to end the rule of Establishment Republicans and “Drain the Swamp”.
Little did Trump know “The Establishment” had created an ecosystem that had found root in the GOP, and would not easily be uprooted. The Swamp creatures had found home on the Left and the Right. They were in every echelon of political life in D.C.. Like Kennedy before him, Trump would get a rude awakening when faced with “Career Politician”, Consultants and Generational Nepotism on a grand scale.
Liz Cheney, whose father Dick Cheney, was former CIA head and former VP to George Bush 43, was one of those generational politicians. She had grown up in politics, groomed by her insider father, to become the next generation of leader in Washington. Who was this Trump, that would dare to come in and upend the apple cart? It was people like Cheney who were supposed to lead the next phase, not Trump.
Trump, who formerly was a Democrat, not only beat 17 Establishment Republicans to win the GOP nomination, but went on the win the Presidency, to the chagrin of all those Republicans and Democrats, who had bet the bank on Hillary Clinton. It was a matter of keeping the status quo and continuing the Swamp spread in Washington.
An embattled 4 years found Trump playing defense, as he was attacked by everyone in Washington. Democrats, the media, including Social Media, unleashed the full weight of the Federal Bureaucracy on the most powerful man on the planet. Had another person with less love of self been hit in the face with such an onslaught of political fury, the outcome would have been much different.
Trump endured attacks from Day 1. The media labeled him a racist for wanting to erect “A Wall”. The specter of an impeachment was raised prior to his taking office. His business dealings were put under scrutiny. Add to this each time he made the now infamous “Tweets”, Democrats and Mainstream media commentators portrayed each syllable as an attack on the status quo.
The Establishment Right, led by neo-conservatives like Bill Crystal of National Review fame, Bush loyalists’ including Liz Cheney, Lisa Makowski, Mitt Romney, and Susan Collins lined up to stand in opposition to any mandates or initiatives by the “Populous President”.
Trump was defeated for re-election in a still contested campaign in 2020. Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Swamp had outlasted Donald Trump and yet there was still the question of 74 million votes. Donald Trump may have lost the election, but he was still the titular head of the Republican Party. His influence and MAGA base were as strong, and some would say stronger at the end of his first term as President than the day he started. This was a problem for the Old Republican Guard.
January 6th became the pivotal day for The Swamp. It was the day that Liz Cheney continues to recount even as recently as a week ago. It was the day when a handful of rioters stormed Capitol Hill and entered the Congressional Rotunda. One person was killed by Capitol Police and hundreds more were marked for arrest.
Liz Cheney continues to point to this day as the reason why Donald Trump and his supporters should not be the predominant base for the Republican Party. In her estimation, these rabble-rousers aren’t fit enough to hold the water of “The Party of Lincoln” but was Cheney too late? Had the ship for the Old Republican Party already set sail?
Cheney, Mitch McConnel, Bush, and the old vanguard hope that Trump loyalist, who now represent the vast majority of Republican voters are just an aberration. The Swamp has been a part of America for so long. They are invested in a future where they call the shots and control the future of the Party. But all things must come to an end.