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Is Liz Cheney's future as a Republican leader in jeopardy?

About half the House Republican conference is ready to oust Liz Cheney from the party leadership because she voted to impeach Trump.
Image: Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney arrives for a press conference at the Capitol on Dec. 17, 2019.Samuel Corum / Getty Images file

When the House last month approved the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history, there was one Republican vote that stood out above the others: House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was among the 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to hold Donald Trump accountable for inciting a deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Almost immediately, more than a few GOP lawmakers said Cheney's partisan betrayal could not stand, adding that the Wyoming congresswoman should be stripped of her leadership post. Politico reported that those efforts are ongoing, and may come to a head today.

[T]he House Republican Conference will huddle in person on Wednesday morning to debate the future of GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, who voted on Jan. 13 to impeach President Donald Trump. A group of hard-line conservatives is leading a charge to oust Cheney from leadership, and says it has commitments from more than 100 colleagues who are willing to vote on a secret ballot to remove her.

In case this isn't obvious, "more than 100" is a rather large number given the circumstances. There are currently 211 House Republicans, and if these far-right members are right in their head count, about half the conference is ready to oust Cheney from the party leadership.

As if holding her accountable, while refusing to hold Donald Trump accountable, makes sense.

In practical terms, Cheney will probably persevere, at least in the short term. Her fellow GOP leaders appear unlikely to force her ouster, and it would require a two-thirds vote of all House Republicans to force a conference vote on her political fate. There's nothing to suggest Cheney's opponents have those kinds of numbers. (That said, she faced no opposition when seeking her current leadership post, and next year, that's very likely to change.)

But stepping back, there's a larger context that's worth appreciating. As the New York Times noted overnight, "Republicans fighting over their party's future face a turning point on Wednesday as House leaders confront dueling calls to punish two members: one for spreading conspiracy theories and endorsing political violence, and the other for voting to impeach former President Donald J. Trump."

It's an important point: a few too many House Republicans have been far more eager to criticize Liz Cheney than Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and it's the latter whose radicalism poses the vastly greater threat.

Politico added yesterday, "Imagine ... if the GOP strips Cheney of her leadership post and doesn't touch Greene. Democrats would have a field day. And Republicans would be tagged as the party of QAnon for the long haul."

And the party would clearly deserve it.