When you think about it, censure or reprimand can be more damaging to a House member than outright expulsion. An expelled member can stick it to Congress by running again and winning their vacated seat, something Greene could very well do, thereby daring the House to disrespect voters by kicking her out again. But censure and reprimand impose on members the stink of living death. Congress bestows the greatest legislative power on members who know how to work with other members, who can deal and trade and wheedle. Lone wolves who have been censured can continue to walk the halls of Congress, but fewer and fewer members choose to have anything to do with them. Journalists, sensing their powerlessness, tend to ignore them, too, except to file stories about how pathetic they are. Like being stripped of committee positions, censure and reprimand diminish an individual member’s power to almost zero, leaving them with little more than the power to boss a staff around, collect a paycheck, stage fundraisers, command a bully pulpit (on the hope that someone will listen), and use franking privileges.

Serving without power as a zombie congresswoman could actually appeal to Greene. She could easily shrug off the shame of censure, reprimand and loss of her committee assignment without missing a beat. Until the party rebukes her—a party that remains loyal to Trump—she just might have a lock on her seat.