As was predicted by nearly everyone, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was crushed in the Wyoming Republican primary on Aug. 16 by Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman.
In the run-up to the election, psephologists put Hageman, a lawyer who actually lives and works in and for Wyoming, some 20-odd points ahead of the anti-Trump crusader Cheney.
In the event, Hageman won by more than 37 points.
This election was a definitive repudiation of Cheney by the voters of Wyoming.
But it was much more than that as well.
It was a biopsy, a core sample of an important part of the American political consensus.
Yes, Wyoming is a deep red, pro-Trump state.
But that doesn't mean, as Cheney’s partisans claimed, that the election was anomalous or a political outlier.
On the contrary, the regime’s searchlight, and its money, was focused laser-like on the election because everyone understood that it was a referendum not just on Cheney, but also on Donald Trump, and not just on Trump, but also on the elite compact that has increasingly concentrated power, privilege, and presumption in the hands of a largely unaccountable elite.
Cheney presented herself as a lonely and principled defender of “our Constitution” against the depredations of the unspeakable marauder Trump.
That may sound good if you're David French or Bill Kristol, but push a little and you see that it's just empty persiflage—indeed, it's invidious nonsense.
Dick Cheney says that no one has ever been a greater threat to “our republic” than Trump.
Scratch a little and you see what he means: No one in our history has been a greater threat to the elite consensus than Trump.
That may be true.
At any rate, it's plausible, and it explains the near hysteria that has insinuated itself into the governing apparatus when it comes to Trump.
It explains the expensive and destructive charade of the Russia Collusion Delusion—that multi-year, $40 million, Democrat-hatched and FBI-nurtured plot to destroy first candidate, then President Trump.
It explains the assiduously circulated meme that Trump was promulgating a “big lie” by challenging the 2020 election when, in fact, that election was rife with illegalities, anomalies, and fraud.
Finally, the threat that Trump poses to the elite, deep-state consensus explains the whole charade of the Jan. 6 committee’s kangaroo court.
“Two years ago,” she said, “I won this primary with 73 percent of the votes. I could easily have done the same again; the path was clear. But it would have required that I go along with President Trump's lie about the 2020 election.”
Regime scribes and publicists are already busy presenting Cheney as a “martyr.”
But she's no martyr.
The irony is that even as they pledge themselves to lawless extremism, Trump proceeds calmly along.
Liz Cheney, airing a clip of the events of that day in the course of her inquisition against Trump, left out that exculpatory portion of the video.
The FBI raided Trump’s private residence in Palm Beach, Florida, hoovering up all manner of personal material, including the former president’s passports.
That outrageous overreach by the country’s premier law enforcement agency is all of a piece with the “by-any-means-necessary” spirit the Cheneys have nurtured in their battle against Trump.
The raid was supposed to reveal Trump as hoarding “nuclear secrets” or other classified material.
In the event, it revealed the deep-state floundering in tertiary madness, sloppy in its incontinent deployment of police power.
The public was aghast and disgusted.
The script called for Trump to be cast as a threat to the Constitution and the rule of law.
As the play unfolds, however, he emerges as a law-abiding upholder of due process and principled opposition to what looks more and more like totalitarian overreach.
The repudiation of Liz Cheney was not only the voters’ repudiation of a smug Beltway insider who was drunk on hatred.
It was also Cheney’s repudiation of the very principles she has pretended to protect and cherish.