Some leftists, including Dana Milbank, are saying so. But then, these are some of the same people who claim that Republicans packed the Supreme Court by nominating and confirming conservatives Justices to fill vacancies on the traditional nine-member court.
These folks will argue anything.
It’s gratifying to see that attacks on the cancel culture are moving the needle sufficiently for hacks like Milbank to want to throw the charge back at Republicans. However, it’s dopey to claim that Liz Cheney’s removal from House leadership has anything to do with cancel culture.
Politicians and other public figures don’t become cancel culture victims when political positions they take, or the manner in which they do so, cost them office. Rep. Joe Crowley wasn’t canceled when Democratic voters in his congressional district decided they preferred to be represented by the more radical Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Bill Clinton didn’t cancel Lani Guinier when he withdrew her nomination for a top civil rights job at the Justice Department after learning about some of her extreme (at the time) positions on racial issues. Reince Priebus wasn’t canceled when he lost his job as Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
Trump wouldn’t have been canceled if his first impeachment trial had resulted in removal from office. Kamala Harris won’t be canceled if Joe Biden decides he will fare better with a different running mate in 2024 or if Biden doesn’t run again and the party sees fit to nominate someone other than Harris for president.
Even those those insisting that Justice Breyer step down to make way for a more left-wing jurist aren’t trying to cancel him, in my opinion. That’s a closer call, though.
The cancel culture isn’t about politicians and political figures losing jobs because their views on political matters, or their stridency, don’t mesh with those who select them. Politicians have no right — legal, moral, or otherwise — to hold a particular office. Nor is personal freedom, including freedom of expression, diminished when officeholders lose out based on their stances on the issues of the day.
That’s a lot of what politics is about — taking positions and facing the consequences, happy or unpleasant.
Victims of the cancel culture are mainly non-politicians who lose their job or are punished in some other way for expressing their views on public policy or the events of the day. An actress removed from a show because of her political expression is a classic example.
Politicians fall victim to the cancel culture when they are prevented from expressing or disseminating their views. Being kicked off of social media can be viewed as cancellation, for example.
But no one is preventing Liz Cheney from disseminating her views about Donald Trump. She seems to be doing so non-stop.
Both examples of cancel culture cited above — a private figure losing a job due to her political expression and a public figure being prevented from sharing his views — have fascist overtones. The implications of politicians losing out because of what they advocate or how they advocate it are democratic.