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Liz Cheney has her eyes on Donald Trump.
The Wyoming congresswoman may have lost her re-election bid last week, but she is on a mission to ensure that Trump is never president again.
“I believe Donald Trump continues to pose a very serious threat and risk to our republic,” Cheney said on NBC. Today show the day after his primary loss. “And I think defeating it is going to take a broad, united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of.”
Cheney is taking a few steps to try to make this possible:
- Form a CAP: After her loss, she immediately formed a political action committee called “The Great Task”;
- Continuation of the January 6 committee hearings: As deputy chair of the House Jan. 6 committee, she is continuing hearings this fall in an effort to continue exposing Trump’s conduct that day;
- A potential presidential candidate: Cheney says she’s “thinking about” a run, maybe even an independent bid.
A political action committee
Cheney still has plenty of money left in his campaign — around $7 million, much of which came from Democrats, by the way. This is quite ironic, given Cheney’s very conservative political positions.
Cheney has also spoken out against some Democratic entities that controversially boosted Holocaust deniers in the GOP primaries in hopes of helping Democrats’ odds against them in November in competitive states and districts.
Cheney can transfer all that money to his newly formed PAC. This will allow him to travel and possibly even advertise against Trump. But it would be limited.
The January 6 Committee
Season 2 of the Jan. 6 Committee Hearings is set to kick off in mid-September, and that’s where Cheney has a key megaphone and could have his biggest effect on Trump.
So far, the ratings have tarnished Trump’s image, even with his base. Prior to the FBI’s search of his Florida home, Trump’s iron grip on the GOP base appeared to be loosening. He was starting to be viewed by many Republicans as too chaotic, and the base was starting to look elsewhere (i.e. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis).
But, so far, FBI research has reconsolidated the base around Trump, whose political identity is so strongly rooted in his own sense of victimhood.
Between: Cheney. She will again command the microphone on the January 6 committee rostrum with her diligent and focused manner.
And without a primary on the left, it has only one objective.
A presidential campaign
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This last point is flashy and a lot of people are weighing its chances.
In reality, Cheney knows she has little to no chance of winning a GOP presidential primary. Not only did she lose her House primary by more than 30 points, but her approval with Republicans nationwide has plummeted since taking her tough stance against Trump.
The latest NPR/PBS NewsTime/ A Marist poll, for example, showed that Cheney had only 13% favor with his own party.
But winning the election and becoming president herself is not the point. Cheney wants to wreak as much havoc as possible for Trump — and all election deniers.
She’s good at arguing and can take the case in a GOP primary to Republicans, who don’t normally get that view from their favorite news sources.
If she does run, she will fight to be on a debate stage with Trump, but that is very unlikely to happen as Trump currently controls the levers of power in the party. But she can do retail campaigns and will get a lot of media attention.
She is also open to an independent candidate for the presidency. How it might cut is less well known. Again, she wouldn’t win the White House, but if her candidacy is seen as likely to legitimately take votes away from Trump, that’s something she would likely seriously consider.
After Cheney’s loss, Trump said on his social media platform, “Now she can finally fade into the depths of political oblivion.”
But this is not true. While Cheney won’t be a congressman next year and likely won’t be president either, she won’t be leaving.
Because after all, as she said on NBC, “I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”