The Wall Street Journal editorial board is offering a critical assessment of House Republicans' vote to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership, warning the move will not nix the party's problems ahead of the 2022 primary election.
In fact, the board warned the GOP could face deeper consequences in the long term for its failure to address the real problem: the haunting existence of former President Donald Trump, a political nightmare which the publication describes as Trump's "purgatory."
In an effort to stay in the former president's good graces, Republican lawmakers voted in favor of stripping Cheney of her leadership role. But the Wall Street Journal warns that ousting Cheney won't make lawmakers look better in the eyes of Republican voters.
"The GOP problem is less that Ms. Cheney won't let Mr. Trump go than that Mr. Trump won't let 2020 go," the Wall Street Journal highlights. Trump's obsession with the 2020 election is one he does not appear to be distancing from in the near future.
The publication notes: "He can't accept that he lost, so he's busy rewriting history to convince everyone he was cheated. He's making that claim a litmus test for GOP leaders or for candidates who want his endorsement." This type of behavior could have a significant influence on the voters and donors Republican lawmakers will need support from to win re-election.
Without Trump's support base, Republican lawmakers will face an uphill battle to win primary elections. Trump's behavior also poses a problem where swing voters are concerned. The outcome of the Georgia Senate is a clear example of how Trump's influence has the ability to sway elections.
Per The Wall Street Journal:
"That may please the Trump base but it won't appeal to the swing voters the GOP needs to retake the House and Senate. Mr. Trump's claim that he was cheated in November is the main reason the GOP lost two Georgia Senate seats in the Jan. 5 runoff. Trump voters stayed home after Mr. Trump told them their votes didn't count. The pre-election polling and voter turnout couldn't be clearer about this."