Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Wyoming Republican primary shows us what is important to American conservatives

As a proverbial finger in the air to check how the wind feels, you could do worse than to look at the Republican primary in Wyoming.

The incumbent is Liz Cheney, a three-term congresswoman in the state, with a reputation as an arch-conservative, championing guns, opposing abortion, and supporting the oil industry. Sounds ideal for the ultra-red deeply-conservative Wyoming populace, right?

Problem is, Ms. Cheney is not a fan of Donald Trump, whom she sees as largely responsible for the Republicans' slide towards authoritarianism and demagoguery. Worse, she is the vice-chair of the legislative committee investigating Trump's role in the January 6th 2021 Capitol riots, and she has been extremely disparaging of Trump and his methods during the investigation, as well as one of the most outspoken critics of the whole "stolen election" narrative. Because Ms. Cheney, although an arch-conservative, is also a woman of morals and common sense, and no pushover.

However, when faced with a choice between an experienced congresswoman with impeccable conservative credentials (including some scarily right-wing views on many topics), and a relatively unknown lawyer who supports Trump to the hilt and has his official support in return, guess who triumphed? Harriet Hagerman (who also stood in the primaries in 2018 and was summarily trounced, coming in third place) walked away with more than a 30-point lead over Cheney.

So, this is where we are at in 2022, at least in ridiculously conservative Wyoming. Policies and ethics are not required; unquestioning abasement at the sacred altar of Trumpism is all. During her campaign, Hagerman asserted, "Liz Cheney betrayed us because of her personal war with President Trump", and the people of Wyoming swallowed every word.

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