Did Liz Cheney just open the door to running for president as an independent?
Liz Cheney is currently a Republican. But over the weekend, she left open the possibility that she might not always be.
« I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he’s not the candidate, » Cheney said during an interview with the Texas Tribune Festival. « And if he’s the nominee, I won’t be a Republican. »
What is interesting !
Cheney, of course, has already lost her battle for re-election — ousted in an August GOP primary in Wyoming’s only House district by Harriet Hageman, who had the backing of not just Trump, but the Chief Justice. minority in the House, Kevin McCarthy. Last year, she was removed as the third Republican in House leadership after openly criticizing Trump and voting to impeach him for his conduct on Jan. 6, 2021.
It’s been clear for months now — and it’s been even more evident since his first loss last month — that Cheney has his eye on a national bid. In her concession speech, she invoked Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln, noting that she took the honorable path, not the easy one.
« The way was clear, » Cheney said. “But, I would have had to accept President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. I would have had to allow his continued efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic.
It’s the kind of speech someone makes who a) isn’t done with politics and b) is actively considering running for national office.
At this point, the assumption — or at least my guess — has been that Cheney will lead what amounts to a kamikaze mission against Trump in the 2024 primary, making his goal not to win himself, but to prevent the former president to become the candidate again. .
Which, honestly, has a relatively low chance of succeeding. The simple fact is that Trump is very, very popular within the Republican Party base. And Cheney, well, isn’t.
Now, it’s hard to judge how good an application intended not entirely to win, but to disqualify another candidate might have since we don’t have a lot of history of those kinds of applications to base ourselves on. It’s possible that Cheney has enough under Trump’s (decidedly thin) skin to do some real damage.
But what’s most interesting is that in the interview with the Texas Tribune, Cheney throws out a « what’s next » for her if/when she loses a potential presidential bid. The idea that she would quit the Republican Party if Trump, as seems likely, is the presidential nominee in 2024 means she could well consider running as a third-party presidential nominee in the same year.
The logistical challenges of qualifying as an independent on the 50-state ballots are significant, but it’s possible Cheney could partner with the Forward Party – founded by Andrew Yang, former Florida Rep. David Jolly and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman – who is arranging broad access to the ballot by 2024.
If Cheney’s ultimate goal is to keep Trump out of the White House, a third-party offer might be the best way to do it. Cheney is conservative on most issues unrelated to Trump and would likely draw more Republican votes than Democrats. And given Trump’s demonstrated struggles in the past to win 50% of the national vote, well, Cheney would be a major complicating factor.
Will she? Who knows! But, her quote suggests she’s at least open to the idea.