Rep. Liz Cheney’s hours in House leadership are numbered, with a vote coming Wednesday that is almost certain to see her booted over her very public split with former President Donald Trump.
But the Republican Party’s foreseeable future is being shaped far beyond Washington. Texas is set to follow Georgia with new voting restrictions inspired by the “big lie,” and Arizona is also moving ahead with new bills even while the search for bamboo fibers and more continues in a post-election “audit.”
Closer to the capital, the messy aftermath of Virginia’s party-run nominating convention offers a peek into a scary future that could confront the GOP virtually anywhere. Only about 30,000 voters waited out lines to cast ballots for governor and other statewide offices at remote locations on Saturday; turnout for the 2017 GOP primary was about 366,000.
The Byzantine process of counting wrapped up late Monday with former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin the apparent winner after second-place finisher Pete Snyder conceded.
But final results will be overshadowed, in part, by a detail “the kraken” itself couldn’t dream up: security was breached in the hotel ballroom where counting was taking place, when an overnight cleaning crew did its work.
Throughout the campaign, none of the major Republican candidates even attempted to find an anti-Trump lane. One candidate who calls herself “Trump in heels” — a state senator who has said the Jan. 6 insurrection was justifiable because of COVID restrictions — threatened to run as an independent if, in her view, the state GOP “steals this election.”
Trump has falsely told his followers that elections are regularly stolen, so it might make sense that some of them believe him. In this case, it means lawsuits and calls for audits and recounts are almost certain to hit the state’s Trump-friendly GOP leadership no matter who wins the primary.
Not long ago, Virginia was a reliably Republican state, and it’s not so blue that Republicans can’t hope to compete there statewide. But winning there this year will mean owning not just Trump but the messaging he’s established as mantra inside the GOP.