This should be a hopeful moment for House Republicans. While they’re playing defense in the minority for now, their prospects for picking up the five net seats they need to regain the majority in 2022 are excellent. That is, unless they devolve into internal brawling over the 2020 election.
Yet that’s precisely what they seem to be doing as some Members try to oust
after the events of Jan. 6.
But she continues to rankle some in the GOP House conference by refusing to go along with Mr. Trump’s demand that Republicans agree that the 2020 election was stolen. On Monday Mr. Trump issued a statement that “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
Ms. Cheney responded on
: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
This has angered some in the House GOP, and on Tuesday Axios caught House Minority Leader
on a hot mic saying “I’ve had it with her.” But Mr. McCarthy knows Ms. Cheney is right. The election wasn’t stolen, yet Mr. Trump wants an endorsement of his stolen claim to be a litmus test for every Republican candidate. He’s the one who wants to refight his losing campaign.
The better part of political prudence would be for Ms. Cheney to ignore Mr. Trump. But Mr. Trump won’t ignore her. He issued four statements on Monday and three of the four were attacks on fellow Republicans, including one on Ms. Cheney. She may be ousted because she is daring to tell the truth to GOP voters—and at personal political risk.
Even as President
proposes the largest expansion of government in decades, Mr. Trump is spending his energy settling scores in his own party. He’s thrown his loyal Vice President over the side because
refused to pull an unconstitutional stunt to invalidate the pro forma Electoral College count on Jan. 6. As ever with Mr. Trump, everything is always about him.
Republicans will look foolish, or worse, to swing voters if they refight 2020 in 2022. They can truthfully say that Democrats used lawsuits to exploit the pandemic to change the election rules in some states. They can also say Democratic judges on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court let Democrats get away with it. Democrats did a better job of exploiting the pandemic election rules than did the GOP.
But there’s no evidence any of this was decisive, as Mr. Trump lost the popular vote in a rout and the Electoral College by a similar margin to what he won in 2016. Mr. Trump lost even as Republicans gained 12 seats in the House. The election was close, but not as close as others in American history.
Republicans should find a way to speak this truth to voters in 2022—and quickly turn to running on an agenda for the future that will check Mr. Biden and his cradle-to-grave entitlement state. Purging Liz Cheney for honesty would diminish the party.
Potomac Watch: New Hampshire’s secretary of state Bill Gardner blows up the claims of ‘voter suppression.’ Image: Charles Krupa/Associated Press
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