Editor’s Observe: Jodi Enda is an award-winning political journalist and a senior fellow on the Middle for American Progress. A former White Home correspondent, she was the editor in chief of ThinkProgress and an assistant managing editor at CNN, the place she oversaw the 2016 election guide, Unprecedented: The Election That Changed Everything. The opinions on this commentary are her personal. Learn more opinion at CNN.
In one other period, Liz Cheney would have been precisely the form of candidate Republican leaders would champion. She has the voting document, the pedigree, the fortitude, the eloquence and the smarts they may search for within the social gathering’s first feminine presidential nominee.
However on this, the Period of Trump, conventional political strengths have been supplanted by blind loyalty to the usual bearer. So it’s that Wyoming’s sole member of Congress has change into a pariah in her own party, stripped of her House leadership place, expelled by her state’s GOP, extensively derided and primarily banished for having the audacity to struggle for one thing conservatives like her used to carry pricey: America’s democracy.
As a result of Cheney had the gall to tackle Donald Trump and his insurrectionists, the previous president has taken on Cheney by selling her major challenger. On Tuesday, if the polls are to be believed, Cheney will lose.
However shed no tears for Liz Cheney. Her star has by no means shone extra brightly.
Cheney is the breakout star of this summer time’s blockbuster TV sequence: the hearings of the Home committee investigating the January 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. Because the vice chair and one in every of solely two Republicans with the mettle to serve on the committee, Cheney has been granted the lead in hearings which have methodically and dramatically revealed the position that Trump and his sidekicks performed within the violent try and overturn the election of Joe Biden.
She has not minced phrases as she questioned witnesses – most of them Republican – excoriated her fellow social gathering members for his or her timidity and bluntly warned the nation that Trump poses a “domestic threat” that’s putting the very republic in danger. She has boldly declared that she intends to stop the previous president from turning into a future president. Right here, she would possibly get an help from any of the myriad investigations into Trump’s actions, together with a Justice Division probe that led the FBI to take away top-secret and confidential paperwork from his Florida manse final week.
Cheney’s forthrightness evokes a time when patriotism (often) trumped partisanship and officers (typically) labored throughout the aisle for the higher good.
Her bravery within the face of overt hostility has made this conservative’s conservative – the daughter of the person liberals deemed a political Darth Vader – the darling of the left. Democrats are hanging on her each phrase, delighted to the purpose of giddiness that she has change into the purpose particular person in what would possibly effectively be probably the most consequential congressional panel since Watergate.
Progressive donors in the meantime, are speeding to fill her marketing campaign coffers as, in desperation, the congresswoman urges non-Republicans to vary their voter registration and solid their major ballots for her. Sadly for Cheney, nearly 73% of Wyoming residents already determine as Republican, and plenty of have made clear to pollsters and journalists that they maintain her in contempt. (Cheney has acquired so many safety threats that, even with a special protective detail, she has largely avoided campaigning within the state that has despatched her to Congress thrice.)
Now, as she faces a possible loss, Cheney is being touted as a future presidential candidate.
However who would help her? The Democrats who fawn over her oppose just about every thing Cheney stands for past Trump’s risk to the union. In spite of everything, she is a rock-ribbed Republican who voted with Trump 93% of the time (and with President Biden lower than 18% of the time).
Cheney has been a staunch opponent of abortion rights and an advocate for gun possession, although she was one in every of simply 14 Home Republicans to again a bipartisan invoice on gun security in June. She has opposed creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who got here to america as kids, strengthening the Voting Rights Act and reforming the police within the wake of George Floyd’s homicide. Like most of her Republican colleagues, she yearned to repeal Obamacare.
On Friday, she prolonged her broad opposition to Biden’s signature initiatives, voting in opposition to laws to fight world warming, lower the price of prescribed drugs, elevate taxes on rich companies and cut back the federal deficit. Democrats handed the invoice with no single Republican vote.
When she ran for the Senate in 2013 – a race she ultimately abandoned – Cheney voiced her opposition to same-sex marriage, although her personal sister had married a lady the earlier yr. Mary Cheney stated her sister beforehand supported her relationship, insinuating that she spouted anti-gay rhetoric to win votes in deep-red Wyoming. (Liz Cheney has since said she was wrong.)
And whereas, with phrases and apparel, she has paid tribute to women’s suffrage and to the younger girls who’ve testified about Trump’s conduct on January 6, Cheney by no means has been a dependable advocate for girls’s rights. Simply the alternative – she has voted in opposition to such feminist requirements as paycheck equity, reauthorization of the Violence In opposition to Girls Act and defending pregnant workers from office discrimination. She was the only congresswoman of either party to oppose the creation of a girls’s historical past museum close to the Nationwide Mall. Granted, she was one in every of eight Home Republicans who voted to protect access to contraceptives this summer time, however her place is much less gutsy than pragmatic, because it locations her comfortably within the American mainstream.
It appears extremely unlikely then, that the feminists who extol her fearlessness within the face of the nation’s largest bully would catapult to the White Home a candidate who has tried to thwart them at virtually each flip. Ditto the progressives who love her heroism however detest her insurance policies. Maybe some average Republican ladies and men would again her, however they’re little greater than a fading reminiscence in a celebration now dominated by Trump loyalists.
That leaves conservatives, the dependable voters who elected her in years previous, who elected her father, Dick Cheney, to the seat she now occupies and caught with him when he served as George W. Bush’s contentious vice chairman. To win the GOP nomination for president (or for every other elected workplace), Cheney wants the conservative voters of her social gathering’s base. However these most Republican of voters will not be Cheney folks anymore. They’re Trumpists.
Might she win them again? Over Trump’s useless physique.
Nonetheless, don’t write off Cheney simply but. She has no scarcity of braveness or chutzpah. She’s a formidable adversary.
Even when she loses this week, she’s going to return to America’s dwelling rooms in September, within the much-anticipated new season of the January 6 committee hearings. She would possibly, as her admirers portend, be sacrificing her political future with a purpose to save the republic. All in all, not a foul trade-off. Then once more, maybe she – with the assistance of different democracy lovers – can salvage them each.