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in Wyoming, the twilight of the old Republican elite

At the Republican Party headquarters, on Capitol Avenue in Cheyenne, Kathy Russell, executive director, does not have words harsh enough to condemn Liz Cheney, the elected Republican anti-Trump, largely beaten on August 16, in the primary. which pitted him against Harriet Hageman. “We haven’t spoken in two years. she says. In Congress, Liz Cheney voted to impeach Donald Trump and she focused exclusively on the commission of inquiry into the events of January 6, 2021 instead of defending Wyoming’s interests. She spends her time in Virginia. If she came here, his safety would not be assured. »

War is declared in the Republican camp, which has dominated the political life of the state since the beginning of the 2010s. Insurgents, self-proclaimed “grassroots conservative Republicans”, took over the leadership of the party and are attacking the old guard which still controls the two houses of parliament and the two most populous counties. Frank Eathorne, party chairman for Wyoming, is part of the Oath Keepers militia who was in the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The elections on November 8 give them the opportunity to change the balance of power in their favor. state legislature and ascend to the key position of secretary of state, responsible for supervising elections. “Many elected officials are RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), asserts Kathy Russel, they register as Republicans but they act as Democrats. »

“Democrats in disguise”

Several websites help new censors identify Republicans deemed politically incorrect., for example, is delighted with the “purge » in progress and denounces the parliamentarians “who falsely claim to be Republicans” examining their votes, looking for the slightest sign of apostasy. According to the site, nearly a two-thirds majority of Republican congressmen in Wyoming are “Disguised Democrats”. Bill Henderson, a newly appointed Laramie elected official “RINO of the month”is criticized for his vote on a bill, adopted at the end of June, prohibiting abortion except in the event of danger to the life of the woman, rape or incest. “His biography indicates that he is of the Catholic faith, comments on the site. As most of us know, the Catholic faith holds that life begins at conception. »

Markers of conservative social identity, the belted colt and cowboy hat are worn by scores of delegates at party conventions, such as on the dance floor at the Bunkhouse Bar & Grill, a fan hangout of hunting and country music, on the Happy Jack Road, about twenty kilometers west of Cheyenne. “To come out as a true Wyoming curator is a difficult art, point out academics Stephanie Muravchik and Jon Shields in an essay published in the New York Times. It’s not just about signaling that you’re rural working class, it’s also about showcasing the authenticity of your conservatism, which often means shaming those who don’t toe the line. Their crimes range from supporting the expansion of Medicaid (medicare for low-income individuals and families) to creating a political action committee to fund women’s candidacies. »

Election security

Opportunistic or sincere, this new republican wave wants to be “from the people”, the opposite of the privileged establishment embodied by the Cheney family. In the state parliament, its representatives focus on symbolic acts directed at their base. Like pushing a bill requiring the police and judiciary to ignore any federal law that violates the Second Amendment guaranteeing every American citizen the right to own guns. Or sponsor legislation banning the teaching of critical race theory in Wyoming public schools, a theory that is absent from classrooms.

Another obsession, “election security”. Virtually guaranteed to win, in the absence of any contender, Chuck Gray, candidate for Secretary of State, a Holocaust denier (“denarius”) who disputes the legitimacy of the election of Joe Biden in 2020, asserts without evidence that there are “huge problems” in organizing and counting votes in Wyoming. “These people spend a lot of time preying on ghosts instead of dealing with real issues of government,” admits Michael Pearlman, spokesman for Governor Mark Gordon. Under pressure, the latter, a traditional Republican, tried to maintain “a very delicate balance” between factions in the “big tent” party.

Trump, “a very good president”

In this state where Donald Trump won nearly 70% of the vote, even residents who criticize the former president say his policies have been good for Wyoming. Eight kilometers from Cheyenne, the state capital, Marc Eisele, 65, a supporter of the ex-president, fights to pass on his ranch “intact and protected” to his three children, partners in the family business. The Kings’s Ranch spans over 10,000 acres of private land and approximately 4,000 acres of federal and state of Wyoming public land. Simple employee of the King’s Ranch at the beginning, Marc Eisele became the owner by associating with the owners, a couple without children.

Through hard work, leasing and calculated risk management, he took over the ranch in 1974 and expanded it by buying and leasing new land. “I spent forty years managing federal government regulatory change,” assures this lifelong Republican, vice-president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the largest association of cattle producers. Trump is not part of our tribe, but he was a very good president. »


A pro-Trump state

Created in 1868, Wyoming Territory became the 44th state of the United States in 1890.

578,803 people reside in this state very low density (2.24 inhabitants/km2 in 2010), of which 83.3% are white, 10.6% Hispanic, 2.8% Amerindian and 1.2% black.

Its three main sectors, in terms of income, are the mining industry (oil and gas, coal, natron, uranium), tourism and agriculture.

The governor of the state is Republican Mark Gordon. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump won 69.94% of the vote, compared to 26.55% for Joe Biden.

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