Conservatives are not like Liberals, as much as Liz Cheney might wish they were.
You see, Liberals, by in large, follow their politicians. Those in the liberal political class set the agenda, and the rank and file members and their constituents simply march along. I suppose it is a system that works for a group of people who largely trust those in authority and who believe that government is most often right.
Conservatives, on the other hand, do not "follow" their "leaders." Conservatives stand largely on unchanging principles and expect their elected representatives to REPRESENT their views and beliefs in government. In other words, to advocate for what the PEOPLE of the district believe, regardless of what the politician may or may not personally believe.
When you cross that line as a conservative representative, you get voted out; and with a 70-30 loss the other night, Liz Cheney serves as the most recent example of this principle. She also is likely the first in a line of people who are going to learn this the hard way.
To give you an example of just HOW CONDEMNING this loss was for Cheney, Wyoming has only ONE congressperson. ONE!! She was it. This was not some referendum where a few large population centers went against her, 70% of the ENTIRE STATE went against the INCUMBANT.
You can easily be forgiven if you did not see that one coming. As bad as she has been, this kind of a loss is unheard of in modern politics. With all of the gerrymandering and other political games, there is rarely a loss of this magnitude for any politician, anywhere.
Yet it speaks to a broader issue within the party leadership, and it is one that the Republican party needs to identify and correct, quickly. They have gotten comfortable with being leaders instead of representatives; and while that worked while the country was largely in a lull politically, recent elections and government decisions have awoken the beast, so to speak.
Conservatives are awake, they are angry, and they are watching. Nothing is escaping their notice now, and if the Republican Party does not stop playing their Washington games, then they had better understand that none of them are safe.
I suppose you could make the case that those in the Freedom Caucus are fairly safe. You could reasonably make the same case for Rand Paul. Yet the Paul Ryans, the Mitch McConnells, the Kevin McCarthys, they had better watch out, because what they could get away with when this country was on auto-pilot politically is no longer going to fly, and Liz Cheney is an example of that. Had the vote been 55-45 or 53-47, you could have made the argument that people were largely still voting on incumbency and just most just did not like Cheney. However a 70-30 election, statewide, where they are saying that a record for primary participation may have occurred, shows that this is not a sleepy public voting along the old auto-pilot straight party lines any longer. Conservatives are watching the Republicans now JUST AS CAREFULLY as they are watching the Democrats, and they are ready to throw out anyone who does not fulfill their role as "representative" of the people.
In other words, they are being told clearly, "You are not our leader, you are our representative, and if you will not represent us faithfully, we will elect someone else who will."
This has to scare the establishment and party leadership down to their core, though they would never dare to admit it. Their ability to "lead" in a way that differs from their constituents desires has been a boon to them on their quest for acceptance in the Washington Elite circles.
As one my favorite talk show hosts, Joe Pags says, "They all get done voting and then go to a dinner party together to laugh about the way they 'attacked' each other on the floor."
Let me put it this way: If a Republican, with a fairly solid conservative voting record, is not safe in a state where almost everyone votes Republican, who is an incumbent of five years, and who won her initial election with 60% of the vote, the next with 73.5% of the vote, and her last one with 62.7% of the vote is not safe, then no one is.
This was a clear and unequivocal message to the party leadership that such behavior will no longer be tolerated. You are NOT our leaders, you SERVE as our representatives. As soon as you fail to, or refuse to, do that, you cease to be of political use to us. Next person up.
Congratulations Harriet Hageman. I hope you learn the lessons that your predecessor did not. I hope you avoid the pitfalls that she stepped in.
If not, you will find yourself on the losing end of a similar result in two years.