Rep. Liz Cheney's (R-WY) landslide election defeat on Tuesday revealed just how much former President Donald Trump has transformed the Republican Party -- which, according to Financial Times columnist Edward Luce, now resembles a freak show more than a political party.
Once considered Republican royalty, the lawmaker from Wyoming has become a pariah in the party over her membership of the congressional panel investigating the January 6 assault on the US Capitol -- and Trump's role in fanning the flames.
In his latest column, Luce argues that there is no longer any room in the GOP for anyone who has any ambitions of actually governing.
"Conventional parties manage their extremes," Luce writes. "In the case of today’s Republicans, however, the extreme sets the narrative. In another time, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman from Georgia, would be dismissed as a political freak."
As an example of Greene's political freakishness, Luce recounts Greene claiming to be opposed to solar power because it would mean that all electricity gets turned off when the sun goes down.
"I have no idea whether Greene is as stupid as she sounds," Luce adds. "She could also be highly savvy. The key to success in today’s conservative movement is to provoke those who look down on it. It guarantees media notoriety that can be monetised. Trump devised the model. But he is not the last word on it. The key is to enrage the overeducated moralisers in bicoastal urban America."
The columnist concludes by lamenting that there are no signs that Republicans will soon get over their love of Trump -- but he still believes the party is headed for a reckoning in the form of "post-Trump stress disorder."
Defeat for the 56-year-old elder daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney in the Wyoming Republican primary marks the end of the family's four-decade political association with one of America's most conservative states.
The Republican nomination to contest November's midterms instead goes to 59-year-old lawyer Harriet Hageman -- Trump's hand-picked candidate who has amplified his false claims of a "rigged" 2020 election.
But there is already speculation that Cheney may challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 -- or even run as an independent -- and insiders are expecting her to deliver a concession speech in the next hour that will double up as the launchpad for her political future.
With additional reporting by AFP