Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Wyoming Republican Party: Politicians can't challenge the party line

In January 2021, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, as chair of the House Republican Conference, voted along with the majority of House representatives (232–197) to impeach President Trump for "incitement of insurrection." On February 9, the state party in Wyoming passed a resolution to censure Cheney for this vote. (The U.S. Senate acquitted Trump several days later.)

Despite being censured by her party, Cheney went on to serve as Vice Chair of the House January 6th Committee which investigates the insurrection. In November 2021, the Wyoming Republican Party voted to cease recognizing Cheney as a party member, citing the language it had used in its February censure.

This outcome is hardly surprising, but what I want to note here is the odd language use by the Wyoming party. The party said that evidence for impeachment needs to be "quantifiable" (clearly, it does not, since not all evidence is expressible in numbers) as well as "undisputed" (which again, it does not, since if it were undisputed there would be no purpose of a House vote on whether to bring charges, nor of a Senate trial regarding the charges. Precisely because the truth might eternally remain disputed, the majority decision is used to determine the outcome.)

So how should we make sense of what the Wyoming Republican Party is saying? Looks like they really mean: All Republican politicians are expected to have a united front; they are not permitted to dispute the position that their party's leadership assumes for them.

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