Rep. Liz Cheney’s loss is the latest evidence that there is no path to power in the Republican Party for those who oppose Donald Trump.
In a proportional system with multi-member districts, conservatives who challenge Trump would have representation in Congress in proportion to their amount of support.
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Liz Cheney lost her Wyoming House seat yesterday, the latest evidence that America’s two-party system has no room for conservative critics of Donald Trump. Single-member congressional districts with winner-take-all elections ensure that most seats are determined by primaries and only the largest plurality wins, leaving giant portions of the country – including conservatives who don’t support Trump – voiceless in Congress.
The chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack and the lone Republican to attend the attack’s anniversary commemoration, Cheney is only the most recent conservative Trump opponent to lose her seat. Only two of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year are left, with four losing their primaries and four retiring in advance.
Still, Cheney and the other Impeachment Republicans have substantial support. Almost one third of Wyoming Republican primary voters voted for Cheney last night. Rep. Tom Rice pulled a fourth of Republican voters in his primary. And Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Peter Meijer each had closely fought contests that came down to the wire, with Meijer winning just less than half of Republican primary voters in his district. While much has rightly been written about Trump's complete control of the GOP, that control is only complete in an electoral system that ignores proportionality and allows pluralities to turn a fraction of support into 100% of representation.
“What we saw in Wyoming makes it clearer than ever that conservatives who reject President Trump have no path to power in our broken single-member, winner-take-all system,” said Fix Our House spokesperson Dustin Wahl. “This should be a wake-up call to politicians in DC on the urgent need for reforms like proportional representation that would pull us out of this democracy-destroying doom loop and open the door to representation for the millions of Americans who don’t support either of the two major parties and currently don’t have a voice.”
If the United States joins the majority of advanced democracies in adopting proportional representation with multi-member districts, conservatives like Cheney who represent a significant portion of American voters would have a chance to win representation in proportion to their amount of support. That is not only a fairer, more functional system for a representative democracy – it also may be necessary for our democracy to survive.