You see them everywhere. The Lincoln Project, Steve Schmidt, Bill Kristol, and other Republicans virtue-signaling their disdain for Donald Trump. The same conservatives who for decades paved the way for the extremist takeover of the Republican party. They used issues like abortion and civil rights to drive wedges across the political spectrum creating an environment of extremism.

They opened the door to groups like the Tea Party which led to the Freedom Caucus. Slowly progressing to a place that normalized a group run by openly bigoted and racist politicians who are funded by the same billionaires that fund hate groups and extremists, the America First caucus. The people who openly attacked the civil rights protests for racial justice in 2020 using anti-Black rhetoric while unnecessarily professing their undying support for law enforcement.

Now, they’re attacking and threatening the FBI, local police, judges, elected officials, and even doctors and hospital workers with rhetoric that grows more alarming every day.

The Republican Party has been on a downhill slide ever since Ronald Reagan was president and they adopted racist and bigoted ideologies as their political platform. After the party shift that began with Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency and the passage of the Civil Rights Act, Richard Nixon began the full embrace of white supremacist ideologues and began the new Republican Party, the Southern Strategy, and the shift to the modern-day dog whistle.

By the time Liz Cheney entered Congress in 2017 – winning the seat her father, former Vice-President Dick Cheney once held – the Republican Party was well on its way to delving into neo-fascism. The Christian Nationalism and sloganeering of the Ku Klux Klan were already mainstream. Trump was in office, slowly picking the country apart and Cheney continued to enable him by voting with him 93% of the time

She voted against the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and restoring parts of the Voting Rights Act decimated by the Supreme Court. She voted against allowing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate certain chemicals like perchloroethylene – a dry-cleaning solvent and metal degreaser designated by the EPA as a likely carcinogen. She recently issued a statement asking the EPA to back off of a proposed rule to further regulate the Oil and Gas industry.

Cheney only seems like a moderate when compared to a political extremist. She represents what the Libertarian Tea Party and its large corporate backers are pushing for. To deregulate everything from voting rights and civil rights to community oversight of policing and corporate abuse of poor and marginalized communities like Houston’s Fifth Ward.

The notion of President Reagan’s “limited government” was built on the dog whistle mantra best explained by Lee Atwater in the 1980s. He made it very clear that instead of using the n-word they would attack programs and that would disproportionately affect Black communities. The idea was to remove the government from as much as possible and privatize everything. The corporate backing of these coalitions exposes the profit motive in nearly every institution.

Liz Cheney voted for those objectives.

The election of former president Trump helped move these ideas forward at a faster pace than ever before. But they are not new. Privatizing schools has been an issue since the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education desegregated schools. Parents still remove their kids from public schools and enroll them in private schools to keep them away from Black students; an industry corporate libertarians are waiting to fully profit from.

With funder of extremist groups Betsy DeVos alongside Trump, they almost pushed that agenda to the point of no return. Another four years in the White House and it would be all but done with DeVos, Koch Industries, Pearson, and other corporations ready to pick the U.S. taxpayers’ pockets. We’re on dangerous ground on various fronts and Cheney helped get us here.

Liz Cheney did what any reasonable person should do in her situation. That hardly makes her a hero. All her policy positions, like her father’s before her, have brought us to the brink of living in a state of authoritarianism. Anti-Trump Republicans are trying to normalize themselves while boosting their popularity by trying to appeal to neoliberals across the spectrum.

The same neoliberals who gladly celebrate countless asylum-seekers being “apprehended” at the border and tossed aside on the streets of Mexico making them vulnerable to cartels, gangs, and smugglers are cheering in Liz Cheney as we speak. Talk of her running for president in 2024, potentially against Donald Trump, is being celebrated in liberal circles as conservatives laugh it off. Cheney doesn’t stand a chance against Trump. But her beating him isn’t the point.

Republicans have always played the long game and that’s what they’re doing now. The current atmosphere among conservatives may be extreme. However, if they can peel enough voters away from Democrats, then Christian nationalism is right around the corner. Cheney voted for everything liberals claim is wrong with the Republican party and here they are celebrating her.

Seems like their strategy of peeling voters away from Democrats is working.

The Antagonist Magazine is a project made up of journalists, activists, and writers focused on amplifying the stories of marginalized communities. The goal is to educate the public by sharing narratives focused on independent voices. Born of an online community in 2019, our platform operates independently; free of corporate influence. Please consider supporting the work of dozens of writers from various communities.

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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