Stephanie Muravchik, a government professor, told CBC there's been an ideological shift in the GOP.
"Wyoming is this powerful example of the right's new obsession with identity," said Muravchik.
On Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney lost her Wyoming primary to Harriet Hageman.
A professor writing a book about Republican Rep. Liz Cheney says her primary loss is a microcosm of a battle that is already "raging" beyond Wyoming and throughout the GOP.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday, Stephanie Muravchik, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California, said, "Wyoming is this powerful example of the right's new obsession with identity."
Muravchik described ideological changes in the Republican party, adding that the term "conservative" no longer means something ideological.
"What it's coming to mean is a person who is deeply committed to Donald Trump and his style of politics," she said.
Cheney lost her Wyoming primary on Tuesday to Harriet Hageman, who was backed by former President Donald Trump. In her concession speech, Cheney called on Americans to join her in preventing Trump from running for office again, saying "this is a fight for all of us together." The congresswoman has been vocal in calling out Trump's 2020 election lies and considering him responsible for the Capitol attack.
When CBC host Saroja Coelho asked what Cheney's loss represented, Muravchik said the fight Cheney was part of was "in some ways the tip of an iceberg of a factional fight being waged at the state level."
Pro-Trump Republicans have been making inroads in a number of recent primaries, such as Tudor Dixon in Michigan and Blake Masters in Arizona.
Muravchik said the right has adopted a form of cancel culture that differs from the left, saying that "any deviation from what the state GOP believes will put one at high-risk of being censored."
The professor then pointed to Cheney as an example of this censorship. In 2021, the Wyoming GOP voted to stop recognizing Cheney as a member of its party.
Muravchik and her co-author Jon A. Shields travelled across the state for their upcoming book about Liz Cheney's Wyoming and the future of the American right.
In a New York Times op-ed, the professors wrote that while some pro-Trump politicians have been able to gain momentum in the party, "their style of politics may also contain the seeds of its destruction."
"Any party that elevates symbolism over governing risks stirring mass revolt down the road," the op-ed continued.
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