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Behind Liz Cheney's defeat, Trump's victory over traditional conservatism

The rout of Ms.

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Behind Liz Cheney's defeat, Trump's victory over traditional conservatism

The rout of Ms. Cheney on Tuesday not only marks her imminent departure from the House of Representatives, where she had a separate voice, but also signals the strong rejection of an anti-Trump line by Republican voters.

Liz Cheney aligned herself with the positions of Donald Trump when he was president, in 93% of her votes in the House. But his sin is to have since openly criticized the billionaire within a political movement that seems less and less open to dissent.

“I think the Republican Party is in a terrible shape today, and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Ms. Cheney told NBC Wednesday morning.

“It could be spread over several election cycles, but I think this country needs a Republican party rooted in substance, in principle, in doctrine,” she continued. "A party that has, conversely, fully supported Donald Trump and his cult of personality, is looking the other way."

Many Republican presidents, from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, have faced internal opposition. But debates about people rarely eclipsed the party's fundamental orientations: lower taxes, free trade, a weak federal power and a powerful army.

- An undefined doctrine -

But the "Grand Old Party," or GOP, is now united around a man who has little regard for the codes of traditional conservatism.

"The Republican Party is no longer Reagan's party or Nixon's party," said Aron Solomon, legal counsel for marketing agency Esquire Digital.

"It's a party that was lost and has now found its way. But, for many, this way is frightening," he analyzes with AFP.

If the doctrine dubbed "Reaganomics" has become a clear reference to neoliberalism, the ideology behind "Trumpism" is more difficult to pin down beyond a populism tinged with nationalism.

If it bears the mark of a form of freedom from the usual rules of politics, "Trumpism" also suggests a certain "cult of personality" around the former president, as Liz Cheney described it.

However, Donald Trump, who calls his Republican detractors "RINO" ("Republicans in name only", "who are Republicans only in name"), has not always been linked to this party.

The real estate magnate was a Republican in the 1980s, but then displayed himself as an independent and even for a time as a Democrat, a party he financed.

- Abandon you program -

The metamorphosis of the Republican Party can also be seen in the comparison, 40 years apart, between two national conventions, these high masses which dub the candidates before a presidential election.

In 1980, the party led by Ronald Reagan published a program of about sixty pages, with detailed proposals on taxation, social protection, transport, immigration, women's rights, health, etc.

For the launch of Donald Trump's re-election campaign in 2020, the Republican Party abandoned updating its political project to simply support the president-candidate and his priorities, however vague they may be.

"Unfortunately, the Republican principles seem lost", wrote then in a tribune Sean O'Keefe, minister under George Bush father. "Nothing exposes this better than the absence of a Republican agenda for 2020."

Donald Trump's hold on the party became apparent when more than two-thirds of his elected House of Representatives refused to certify Joe Biden's presidential victory, just hours after the Capitol was stormed by protesters. supporters of a president who no longer wanted to leave the Oval Office.

And, further proof of his grip, of the ten elected Conservatives who voted in favor of his second impeachment in the House of Representatives in January 2021, only two will try to keep their seats in the House during the legislative elections this fall: four refused to run again, four others were defeated in the primaries.

Liz Cheney, who belongs to the latter category, however, promised to "do everything" so that the former president never again accesses the White House, not closing the door on the possibility of presenting herself in 2024. .

But for analyst Aron Solomon, Ms. Cheney would be more successful on the airwaves than at the polls.

"It is more than likely that Liz Cheney will turn into a radio or television commentator," he said. "It would suit her well and she will reach more voters who really listen."

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