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Liz Cheney has taken aim at Donald Trump.
The congresswoman from Wyoming may have lost her re-election bid this past week, but she’s making it her mission to make sure Trump is never president again.
“I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very serious threat and risk to our republic,” Cheney said on NBC Today show the day after her primary loss. “And I think his victory will require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of.”
Cheney is taking several steps to try to make this possible:
- PAC Formation: After her loss, she immediately formed a political action committee called “The Great Task”;
- Continuation of committee hearings on January 6: As vice chairwoman of the House Jan. 6 committee, she is continuing the hearings this fall with the goal of continuing to expose Trump’s behavior that day;
- Potential candidate for president: Cheney says he is “thinking about” applying, even possibly an independent bid.
Political Action Committee
Cheney has a lot of money left in her campaign — about $7 million, much of which came from Democrats, among others. This is quite ironic given Cheney’s very conservative political stances.
Cheney also spoke out against some Democratic entities who controversially stepped up denialists during the GOP primaries in hopes of helping Democrats’ chances against them this November in competitive states and districts.
Cheney can transfer all that money to his newly formed PAC. That would allow her to travel and maybe even run an anti-Trump ad. But it will be limited.
The Commission of 6 Jan
Season 2 of the Jan. 6 committee hearings are expected to begin sometime in mid-September, and that’s where Cheney has a key megaphone and could have the most effect on damaging Trump.
The hearings so far have damaged Trump’s image, even with his base. Before the FBI raid of his Florida home, Trump’s iron grip on the GOP base appeared to be loosening. He came to be perceived by many Republicans as too chaotic, and the base began to look elsewhere (ie Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis).
But so far, the FBI manhunt has re-consolidated the base around Trump, whose political identity is so heavily wrapped up in his own sense of victimhood.
Enter: Cheney. She will once again command the microphone on the committee podium on January 6 with her diligence and focus.
And since there is no primary left, it has only one focus.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
That last point is a shiny one, and there are plenty of people weighing in on its chances.
In reality, Cheney knows he has little or no chance of winning the GOP presidential primary. Not only did she lose her House primary by more than 30 points, but her approval rating among Republicans nationally has plummeted since taking a strong stand against Trump.
The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/The Marist poll, for example, showed that Cheney has only 13% favorability in his own party.
But winning the elections and becoming president herself is hardly the point. Cheney wants to wreak as much havoc on Trump — and all the election deniers — as possible.
She’s good at arguing and can make the case in the GOP primaries to Republicans who don’t usually get that perspective from their preferred news sources.
If she runs, she’ll struggle to be on the debate stage with Trump, but that’s highly unlikely to happen because Trump controls the levers of power in the party right now. But she can run retail campaigns and will get a lot of media attention.
She is also open to an independent run for president. How it can be cut is less known. Again, she’s not going to win the White House, but if her candidacy is believed to legitimately take away Trump’s votes, it’s something she’ll likely give serious consideration to.
After Cheney’s loss, Trump announced on his social media platform, “Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion.”
But this is hardly true. Even though Cheney won’t be a congressman next year and probably won’t be president, she’s not going away.
Because at the end of the day, as she said on NBC, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”