Currently, Liz Cheney is a Republican. But over the weekend, she left open the possibility that she might not always be.
“I’m going to make sure that Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he’s not the nominee,” Cheney said. in an interview at the Texas Tribal Festival. “And if he were the nominee, I wouldn’t be a Republican.”
Cheney, of course, lost the reelection battle – ousted in the August GOP primaries in Wyoming’s Lonely House by Harriet Hageman, who has the support not only of Trump, but also of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last year, she was eliminated as the third Republican on the House leadership after publicly criticizing Trump and voting to impeach him for his conduct on January 6, 2021.
It’s been clear for months now – and even more relieved since her first loss last month – that Cheney has her eyes on a national bid. In her concession speech, she invoked Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln, noting that she had taken the path of honor, not the easy way.
“The path is clear,” said Cheney. “But, I am forced to obey President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. I have asked me to activate his relentless efforts to demystify our democratic system and attack public the foundations of our republic. ”
It is the kind of statement someone makes who a) is not in politics and b) is actively considering running for national office.
By this point, the assumption – or at least my assumption – is that Cheney will go on a kamikaze mission against Trump in the 2024 primary, making her goal not to win herself but is to keep the former President from becoming a candidate. .
Honestly, the chances of success are relatively low. The simple fact is that Trump is very, very popular in the Republican establishment. And not Cheney.
Now, it’s hard to judge how much a candidate does not aim to win at all, but how much another type of candidate might have since we don’t have much historical record of what types of candidates are there. there to draw. There’s a chance that Cheney could get enough under Trump’s (definitely thin) skin to do some actual damage.
But what’s most interesting is that in her interview with the Texas Tribune, Cheney is offering a “what’s next” for her if/when she loses to a potential presidential candidate. The idea that she will leave the Republican Party if Trump, seems likely, is the presidential candidate in 2024 means she could also consider running as the party’s candidate. third for the presidency that same year.
The logistical challenges of qualifying independently on all 50 state ballots are significant, but there is a chance that Cheney could align with Forward Party – founded by Andrew Yang, former Florida Representative David Jolly and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman – organize for universal voting access by 2024.
If Cheney’s ultimate goal is to keep Trump out of the White House, a third-party bid might be the best way to do it. Cheney is conservative on most issues unrelated to Trump and will probably garner more Republican votes than Democrats. And given Trump’s proven struggles in the past to win 50% of the vote nationally, Cheney will be a big complicating factor.
Can she do it? Who knows! But, her quote suggests she’s at least open to the idea.