The leading candidate to replace Cheney is Elise Stefanik, who represents a rural New York district. While Trump was president, Stefanik, a moderate by Republican standards, voted for legislation he supported only 77.7 per cent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, a website. She opposed his tax bill, his only major legislative achievement. On policy Cheney was the better ally, backing Trump’s position 92.9 per cent of the time.
Republicans are rallying to Stefanik for one reason: she has been zealous in spreading misinformation about the election and trying to overturn it. Most recently she backed a Republican-ordered audit of the vote in Arizona’s largest county despite several previous audits confirming Joe Biden’s victory. That effort is taking on a whiff of desperation, if not lunacy: auditors are examining paper ballots for any trace of bamboo because of a specious claim that thousands were flown in from Southeast Asia and stuffed into ballot boxes.
Stefanik didn’t even vote for the Trump tax cuts. She is one of the most left leaning members of Congress in the GOP. But that doesn’t matter. All that matters now, it seems, is how willing people are to push the big lie.