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Liz Cheney's Sisyphean Anti-Trump Struggle

Her crusade against Trump fails to sway anyone.

Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Only in America do politicians vehemently rejected by voters continue to get a public voice and be treated as celebrities. 

An extreme example that doesn't get the message is Liz Cheney, the former lone member of the House of Representatives from Wyoming. Cheney was on Face the Nation recently and merited front-page coverage in the New York Times with the sympathetic headline, "With time running short, Liz Cheney is imploring Republicans to reject Donald Trump."

Since January 6, 2021, Cheney has claimed to take a principled pro-constitutional stand against the former president. When she became one of ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump - the official charge then was that Trump incited an insurrection - party officials in Wyoming punished her by formally censuring her. 

The stubborn Cheney hung on to her so-called "principled stance" and ignored her state party, persevering in her campaign to hurt Trump. She immediately became the darling of the Left and the media elite, which elevated her national stature. There was talk that the Republican would become a formidable player, perhaps rising to Speaker of the House. At the time, she was in the GOP leadership as conference chair, the No. 3 position in the national party hierarchy.   

GOP leaders in the House were aware of her raw ambition. Cheney, who had never lived in Wyoming and was the quintessential Beltway type, having grown up around Washington D.C., performed the cardinal sin of not only carpet-bagging to a state but announcing that she would challenge the state's United States senator, Mike Enzi, in the Republican Primary. After a political revolt by Enzi's supporters, she backed down, waiting for her chance to run for the lone House seat, and quickly rising through the ranks by being a staunch supporter of Trump's domestic policies.  

Led by then Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the House voted to punish her disloyalty to Trump by removing her as GOP conference chair in May 2021, despite an all-out push by her surrogates in the media against the move. Two months later, against the wishes of her own House leader, she accepted the role of Vice Chairman of the partisan J6 Committee to investigate J6. It was Nancy Pelosi's masterful move, as the media portrayed it, of naming two Never Trumpers (along with Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Ohio) to the Committee to make it look bipartisan. That the minority leader withdrew his nominees from the Committee meant nothing to the Left or the media. 

On the J6 Committee, Liz Cheney became the media's darling, appearing so often on the Sunday shows that she became a fixture. The 2022 summer docudrama, when the House hired a veteran TV producer to make the case that Trump engaged in insurrection, showed Cheney in thousands of carefully-panned shots during primetime, sometimes even wielding the gavel.

The ‘rock star,’ however, still had to endure a primary back home in Wyoming, a state she rarely visited. In one of the most-watched primary battles of the 2022 election season, Wyoming voters ousted Liz Cheney with 71% casting a vote for someone else, even after Cheney shamelessly sought Democrats to cross over and vote for her. Harriet Hageman, "a lawyer in Cheyenne with little political following before Mr. Trump's endorsement lifted her, trounced Ms. Cheney, the daughter of a former vice president, by more than 30 percentage points, with more than 90 percent of the vote counted," lamented the New York Times, one of Cheney's biggest media promoters.

A constitutionally-principled politician would respect the voters and immediately step down from her coveted spot on the J6 Committee. So, we reminded her to do the right thing, but she continued her anti-Trump tirade until the last hours of the 117th House when the J6 Committee issued a stinging rebuke of Trump in its final report.

It has now been a whole year since Cheney entered political oblivion. She knew she would be crushed in the Republican primaries, so she wisely kept out. Having already professed her support for Biden, she couldn't run against him in the Democratic primaries. Her best electoral hope is to act as a spoiler by running on an Independent party ticket. But even the most well-funded Independent in recent memory, Ross Perot, who won 19% of the popular vote in 1992 in a three-way race that handed the presidency to Bill Clinton, failed to win a single state, and thus a single electoral college vote. So, that door is closed, too, although the media continues to keep it open.

In a last-ditch effort to promote Liz Cheney, Maggie Astor of the New York Times wrote another puff piece. "In a flurry of appearances and commentary, former Representative Liz Cheney has stepped up her denunciations of former President Donald J. Trump in a last-ditch effort to persuade Republicans not to nominate him again."   

Astor quoted Cheney, who spoke at Dartmouth. "Tell the world who we are with your vote. Tell them that we are a good and a great nation. Show the world that we will defeat the plague of cowardice sweeping through the Republican Party."

Sorry, Ms. Cheney, the plague of cowardice has entrapped you and the Democrats for three years, not the GOP. You have employed every legal tool in the book in Congress, the Executive Branch, and the courts to stop Trump. Today, Trump has a 61-point lead nationwide within the GOP. In a democracy, the voters' choice counts more than the pontification of know-it-all-politicians like yourself.

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