Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, at a primary Election Day gathering at Mead Ranch in Jackson, Wyo. Cheney lost to challenger Harriet Hageman in the primary. Cheney’s resounding election defeat marks an end of an era for the Republican Party. Her loss to Trump-backed challenger is the most high-profile political casualty yet as the GOP transforms into the party of Trump. Credit: Jae C. Hong / AP

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Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s only member in the U.S. House of Representatives, lost the Republican primary on Tuesday. This was expected.

Cheney was ousted from her leadership role in the House Republican caucus last year because of her criticism of Donald Trump. She was then chosen, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, to be the vice chair of the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

In June, Cheney doubled down on her charges that Trump and his enablers are a grave, continuing threat to our democracy.

“We have to choose, because Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution,” Cheney said during an address at the Ronald Reagan Library in California.

Cheney had been clear for weeks that her continuing criticism of Trump and others involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and those who continue to assert that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, was likely to end her time in Congress. She is now considering a run for president – in an effort to ensure Trump is not elected again.

In her concession speech Tuesday night, she said she could have again easily won her election, but she chose not to take that path, which would have required her to go along with Trump’s lie about the 2020 election and “to enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic.”

“No house seat, no office in this land is more important than the principles that we are all sworn to protect, and I well understood the potential political consequences of abiding by my duty,” Cheney said.

“I am a conservative Republican,” she also said in the speech. “I believe deeply in the principles and the ideals on which my party was founded. I love its history and I love what our party has stood for. But, I love my country more.”

Cheney’s stance has enraged many Republicans who remain loyal to Trump but she has found a fan base among many Democrats and independents.

We, too, have praised Cheney for being one of the few Republicans willing to call out the lies about a stolen election and for urging her colleagues in the GOP to move on from Trump. That doesn’t mean we support Cheney’s stance on numerous issues, which are generally very conservative or that we’re lamenting the electoral difficulties of a member of a prominent political dynasty.

But, we do recognize that with fewer people like Cheney in power, the Republican Party has become too beholden to Trump and his dangerous rhetoric and his divisiveness. This is dangerous not just for the party but also for the country, as deep divisions increasingly tip toward violence and hate at a time when the country needs cooperation and thoughtful deliberations to address the major issues we face.

Cheney was one of 10 Republican members of the U.S. House to vote to impeach then-President Trump after the events of Jan. 6. She is the most prominent to lose an election to a Trump-backed challenger. But, she isn’t the only one.

Four of those Republican House members announced that they would not seek re-election this year.

Of the six who sought re-election, only two won their primaries. The remaining four – Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina, and Cheney – lost their primaries to Trump-backed candidates.

We don’t want to second guess the voters of Wyoming or any other state. They get to choose who they send to Congress. That’s how democracy works. But as a country, embracing Trump over people like Cheney is leading the Republican Party further down a dangerous path.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...