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Analysis: Liz Cheney wants Republicans to remember what they keep trying to forget

Liz Cheney is the “Guilty Remnant” of the Republican Party. The Wyoming lawmaker has, repeatedly, sought to remind Republicans of what they so badly want to forget: That attempts to overturn the 2020 election and the subsequent riot at the US Capitol are diametrically opposed to the principles the party had long espoused.
“Republicans used to advocate fidelity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Constitution,” Cheney wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday. “In 2020, Mr. Trump convinced many to abandon those principles. He falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him because of widespread fraud. While some degree of fraud occurs in every election, there was no evidence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one.”
Yup. Nailed it. 10 out of 10.

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The simple and undeniable fact is that prior to the rise of Donald Trump, one of the organizing principles of the Republican Party was a dedicated adherence to the Constitution. They insisted the 2nd Amendment had to be held sacred. They prized judges who touted themselves as “strict constructionists,” meaning they took the document at its literal word and didn’t try to extrapolate it to modern times and situations.
During an appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in December 2016, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, a leading practitioner of constitutional conservatism, described his conversations with Trump on that front.
“We’ve talked about the Constitution, Article 1 on the Constitution, the separation of powers,” said Ryan. “He feels very strongly, actually, that under President Obama’s watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the Constitution, away from the legislative branch of government, and we want to reset the balance of power so that people and the Constitution are rightfully restored.”
Four years after Ryan said Trump was a big believer in making sure that the Constitution was “rightfully restored,” the President was leaning on Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results. John Eastman, a lawyer for Trump, was circulating a memo that would have bent the Constitution to achieve Trump’s goal of winning.
As CNN has noted: “The Eastman memo laid out a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election for Trump, which included throwing out the results in seven states because they allegedly had competing electors. In fact, no state had actually put forward an alternate slate of electors — there were merely Trump allies claiming without any authority to be electors.”
And, it wasn’t just that! Trump confidant Rudy Giuliani had been actively working to establish those alternate elector slates in swing states. From CNN last month: “The Trump campaign lined up supporters to fill elector slots, secured meeting rooms in statehouses for the fake electors to meet on December 14, 2020, and circulated drafts of fake certificates that were ultimately sent to the National Archives.”
These attempts to overturn the election by ignoring the constitutional directives regarding the counting of the Electoral College votes are in direct contradiction of Republicans’ longtime reverence for the nation’s founding document.
As Cheney put it in her op-ed: “What Mr. Trump had insisted that Mr. Pence do on Jan. 6 was not only un-American, it was unconstitutional and illegal.”
Republicans may want to forget how much they once revered the Constitution and insisted on the rule of law. Cheney won’t let them — and for that she was removed from her leadership post among House Republicans and could well lose her reelection bid this year.
What a world.

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