The Republican Party is vastly different than it was before former President Donald Trump entered the White House. Today’s political landscape doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
It seems clear Liz Cheney’s GOP is gone, and a futile bid to become the party’s 2024 presidential nominee isn’t likely to revert the party to its pre-Trump, Romney-esque slant.
Even if Cheney didn’t court Democrat voters in her bid to win her primary election this month, asking Democrats to switch party registration and vote for her on August 16, it’s unlikely the Wyoming rep has any chance of stopping the radical transformation of the GOP and winning over America First voters. Donald Trump transformed the Republican Party into a movement that cares more about populist and conservative social ideals than fiscal conservatism, and Cheney can’t change that.
The GOP Is Populist Now
Cheney’s platform, should she decide to run in 2024, will undoubtedly focus on reversing the changes former President Donald Trump made to the party’s platform. Among Cheney’s many criticisms of Trump is her claim that the party’s new populist economist approach constitutes “Marxism.” Cheney even compared Trump’s politics to the Chinese Communist Party in 2021.
“When you listen to Donald Trump talk now, when you hear the language he’s using now, it is essentially the same things that the Chinese Communist Party, for example, says about the United States and our democracy,” Cheney told The Axe Files podcast last year.
“When he says that our system doesn’t work … when he suggests that it’s, you know, incapable of conveying the will of the people, you know, that somehow it’s failed — those are the same things that the Chinese government says about us,” Cheney continued.
In 2021, Cheney – then the House Republican Conference Chair – hit out at a memo from Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks which stressed the importance of Republicans embracing issued that matter to working-class voters.
In the memo, the Indiana Republican congressman described how former President Trump “gave the Republican Party a political gift.”
“We are now the party supported by most working-class voters,” he said. “The question is whether Republicans reject that gift or unwrap it and permanently become the Party of the Working Class.”
Cheney didn’t share the same enthusiasm for the GOP becoming the multi-racial, broad-church, working-class party that Trump envisioned, and hit back in an interview with Politico claiming the memo was “neo-Marxist.”
FBI Raid Galvanized Support
Before the FBI raided the home of former President Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, last week, he already enjoyed the loyal support of around half of the party’s voting base. While some polls showed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis competing with Trump as a hypothetical 2024 nominee, most analysts expected that the party nomination was Trump’s for the taking – if he wanted it.
After the raid, in which the FBI took boxes of presidential records taken to Mar-a-Lago from the White House during the Trump presidency, Trump has galvanized his support within the party. Not only are registered Republicans throwing their weight behind the former president but so are many high-profile Republicans who are rumored to be considering their own 2024 campaigns.
On Monday, Trump also predicted that the investigation will help Republicans take back control of the House and Senate in November’s midterm elections. In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump said that the GOP could “win back many additional seats” in the House and Senate as a result of the “strong backlash” over the raid.
“Polls are showing that some lost Republican territory over the last number of weeks has been more than made up with the unannounced Break In by the FBI, which should never have happened!” he said.
A survey from the Trafalgar Group and Convention of States Action revealed how more than 80% of Republican voters are more likely to turn out and vote in November as a result of the operation, indicating growing support for the former president.
Progressive Democrats Need Opposition
If the Mar-a-Lago raid is as politically motivated as many Republicans expect it was, then Cheney’s brand of conservatism doesn’t counter the radical actions and ideology of many mainstream Democrats in a way that will satisfy GOP voters.
Gaining the support of high-profile Democrats and Democrat voters is perhaps the worst possible thing for Cheney in this political environment. It doesn’t just make it impossible for her to win the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination but rules her out as a serious leader within the party for as long as the Democrats continue their streak of taking extreme action to demonize Republicans and advance the most radical and progressive policies their party has ever proposed.
The GOP of old is gone, and Cheney can’t do anything about it unless the Democrats change their tune, too.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.