FARGO — The removal of Liz Cheney from her House leadership position is frightening. Cheney, a hardcore conservative, was punished for telling the truth and standing up for democracy. She was punished for not going along with the Big Lie that the last presidential election was fraudulent, and stolen from Donald Trump.

In a party that loves to talk about so-called “cancel culture,” Cheney was canceled.

Cheney was spot on and courageous when she wrote in The Washington Post that, “Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the results of elections and the rule of law. No other American has ever done this.”

So, the House Republicans are openly violating their oaths of office. Instead of pledging their loyalty to the Constitution, they are pledging their loyalty to a corrupt man: Donald Trump.

Republican House members were especially cowardly in dumping Cheney by a voice vote. Kudos to Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., for voting to support Cheney. I contacted the five Republican members of the House from North Dakota and Minnesota to ask how they voted. Only Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D. and Pete Stauber, R-Minn, had the integrity to get back to me. Sadly, they both confirmed they voted to remove Cheney.

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I never heard from Minnesota Reps. Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn and Michelle Fishbach. That’s no surprise from Hagedorn and Fischbach. They both displayed their contempt for the Constitution and democracy when they voted in January to overturn the presidential election results.

Fischbach did release a statement saying, “Our conference has lost faith in Congresswoman Cheney’s ability to look to the future and advance our collective priorities.” Those priorities are worshiping Trump and lying.

It’s hard to comprehend Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. He ineptly responded to the pandemic, separated children from their parents, lied about the election, incited a scary and violent coup attempt against our government, and was impeached twice. Moreover, since he was elected president, the Republicans lost control of the House, Senate and presidency.

From John Adams to John Quincy Adams to Martin Van Buren to Benjamin Harrison to William Howard Taft to Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush, political parties and Americans have historically moved on to other candidates after incumbent presidents have been defeated for re-election. Only Grover Cleveland has been elected president again after losing, but Cleveland had good reason to think he could win again. That’s because when he lost in 1888, he won the popular vote.

Trump decisively lost the popular vote last year. There are few, if any voters, who voted against Trump in 2020, who would vote for him in 2024.

Meantime, based on the Big Lie, Republicans in about 10 states are trying to cheat their way to victory by passing voter suppression laws that target Democratic voters. There’s also the real fear that a Democrat could win the presidency in 2024, but Republican members of Congress could overturn the results. That would mean the end of our democracy.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email jimshawtv@gmail.com