It was hard not to see breathless media accounts of an impending civil war within the Republican Party last week. Liz Cheney, the former No. 3 House Republican, was forced out of her position because she preferred to focus on Donald Trump’s failings rather than a winning GOP message for the 2022 elections when Republicans only need to gain five seats to win the majority.
Liberal news analyst Jeff Greenfield says all of the predictions the GOP was on the verge of breaking up are mostly hype.
A former media analyst for CBS and ABC News who started his career as a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy, Greenfield writes in Politico: “History is littered with times that critics on the left, and in the pundit class, were positive the Republican Party was setting itself up for defeat by embracing its extremes . . . only to watch the party comfortably surge into power.”
Greenfield says that critics of the current stance of the Republican Party such as Cheney, Maryland governor Larry Hogan, and former GOP chair Michael Steel “will win a significant share of coverage in the New York Times, and on CNN and MSNBC. But the idea that they represent one side of a major split within the Republican Party is a fantasy.”
Indeed, a new Economist magazine poll found that Liz Cheney, who admitted her interest in running for president in 2024 over the weekend, has only a 31 percent national approval rating. And a large part of that 31 percent is Democrats: 51 percent of them approve of her. But among independents, she has a 26 percent approval rating and it is only 18 percent among her fellow Republicans.
Cheney is certainly winning the media primary for the 2024 Republican nomination right now, but among actual Republican voters, it looks as if she’ll be in the back of the pack.