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Establishment Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump are now in danger of having their offices taken from them by primary challengers and it seems like their anti-Trump actions may be coming back to haunt them.
As reported by Fox News, Trump advocated for the removal of these Republicans in a February CPAC speech by claiming they spent more time trying to remove him than fighting back against Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden, and that conservative voters should “get rid of them all.”
Now the walls are closing in for Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Tom Rice of South Carolina, and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Cheney has, arguably, the largest target on her back. In order to win, she must defeat eight primary challengers, one of which, State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, has already raised $500,000 in campaign money. Cheney was previously ousted from House GOP leadership over her comments about Trump’s part in the January 6 riots, an event she places him at the center of. This, of course, puts a great deal of momentum against her.
Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler faces much the same problem as she voted for Trump’s impeachment, agreeing with the Democrat narrative that Trump was to blame for the riot. Fellow Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse was already facing calls to resign in his district over his impeachment vote. Both have multiple primary challengers.
Also facing down primary challengers is New York Rep. John Katko, Rep. David Valadao of California, Michigan Reps. Peter Meijer and Fred Upton, and Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.
Many of the challengers already have a good deal of momentum going for them. Despite having been defeated, Trump has a great deal of influence over the party and his endorsement will go a long way. His influence is still so large that GOP leadership rearranges under his banner.
For many Republicans, Trump represented very real conservatism and the will to win without compromise, something that had been missing from the party for a very long time. Republicans and conservatives saw the impeachment of Trump as a return to the old lukewarm spirit of the GOP, willing and ready to cave to Democrat pressure at any moment. Moreover, they saw it as a betrayal of the party at a time when Democrats are more extreme than they’ve ever been.
Voters who have watched Democrats promote literal violence, riots, lack of border security, and more see any kind of siding with Democrats right now as a grave sin, and one worthy of removal from office. Time will tell how many of these politicians fall to pro-Trump challenges, but it’s safe to assume that many will. What’s more, if they do win, it will only embolden pro-Trump voters going into 2024 and give Trump himself that much more momentum for his return.
While Trump hasn’t officially announced he’s running again, he has hinted this will happen, giving many Republicans a fighting spirit.