Cheney's purge highlights divide over the state of the democracy

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WASHINGTON — Five words stand out from the speech Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., delivered on the House floor last night ahead of her likely ouster Wednesday from the GOP leadership: "The unraveling of our democracy."

“Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar,” she said.

"I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”

Think about it: A former president and the current de facto leader of a political party still hasn’t conceded an election he lost.

The same person hasn’t respected the constitutional process (the courts, the certifications, the Electoral College count) that confirm he lost.

The same person continues to lie and spread conspiracy theories – the same lies and conspiracy theories that led to violence on Jan. 6.

And House Republicans are purging the top woman in their ranks in order to appease it all.

The current divide in our politics right now is between those who believe the U.S. democracy is facing an existential crisis, and those who either think this is just your typical back-and-forth or who’ve decided to stay silent.

It’s that second group that’s winning right now inside the GOP — and we’ll see by how much they’re winning in today’s secret-ballot vote on Cheney.

But the real story today isn’t about whether Cheney survives; we know how that’s going to play out.

Instead, it’s whether our two-party democracy can survive, especially after Jan. 6.

And that’s a question that doesn’t have an answer yet — but we sure know which side is being punished within the GOP.

Here’s the other political news Cheney’s ouster has overshadowed

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy complains that Liz Cheney has distracted the GOP from combatting President Biden and his agenda.

But guess what’s gotten largely lost over the past week as Liz Cheney’s likely ouster has dominated the political news:

  • Last week’s less-than-stellar jobs report;

  • the pipeline hack;

  • the hike in gas prices;

  • and the violence in the Middle East.

Make no mistake: Republicans have talked about these things, and they’ll continue to press them in the days ahead.

But they haven’t dominated the political conversation the way the Cheney story has.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

32,936,269: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 34,413 more than yesterday morning.)

586,898: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 667 more than yesterday morning).

334,081,065: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

32.4 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated.

6: The number of judicial nominees the White House announced this morning, three on the Court of Appeals and three on the District Court.

40: At least how many people are dead as violence is escalating between Israel and Hamas.

More than 100: The number of Republicans who are joining a letter warning they may leave the GOP over its fealty to Trump.

Biden and the Big Four

At 11:00 a.m. ET, President Biden meets with the top congressional leaders from both parties — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Then, at 3:30 p.m. ET, Biden gives a speech on the U.S. vaccine effort against the coronavirus.

Tweet of the day

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

A federal judge dismissed the NRA’s attempt to get bankruptcy petition, allowing the New York lawsuit seeking its dissolution to continue.

Republicans might be wresting Liz Cheney from leadership, but she isn’t expected to disappear from the discussion.

Arizona’s governor signed a new law that will purge infrequent mail voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List.

Here’s how the Covid-19 vaccine has changed the daily lives of epidemiologists.

While border arrests rose in April, there’s been a drop in unaccompanied minors.

Undocumented immigrants will be able to receive some of the new federal aid flowing to colleges, according to the education secretary.

Job openings are at a record high as labor shortages continue.

Politico looks at how Vice President Harris’ border role meshes with her past criticism of the Trump border policy.