Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has had one of the stranger arcs of any politician in recent memory. The daughter of longtime Republican stalwart Dick Cheney, a former secretary of defense and vice president, Liz Cheney was first elected to Congress in 2016, winning the at-large seat formerly held by her father. She spent her early years in Congress as a standard Republican. Soon she rose as high as chair of the Republican Conference, the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership.
Things began to change after the January 6 riot. Cheney became critical of then-President Donald Trump and voted for his second impeachment, which cost her her spot in the Republican leadership. This also made her a Trump enemy for life, even before she became the vice chair and leading Republican on the January 6 Select Committee. This has also led to something previously unthinkable – Cheney has gained lots of liberal fans.
The congresswoman even campaigned with Democrats during the 2022 midterm elections, opposing Republicans who were vocal election deniers.
With Cheney losing a Republican primary this year, the release of the findings of the January 6 Committee will mark the end of her service in Congress.
“I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” Cheney said in September while speaking at the Texas Tribune festival.
There has been speculation that she could run for president in 2024, pitting her directly against her nemesis, Donald Trump. Cheney acknowledged in a July interview that she was considering such a run.
“That’s a decision that I’m going to make in the coming months, and I’m not going to make any announcements here this morning — but it is something that I am thinking about,” she told NBC News.
Cheney would be highly unlikely to strongly compete in a Republican presidential contest — after all, she just lost a Republican primary decisively, and even Republican voters who are wary of Trump will have other options. Even so, a run for president would give Cheney the chance to confront Trump on the debate stage.
Politico in September looked at the question of a possible Cheney candidacy. While she is a Trump critic who has teamed up with Democrats on the January 6 Committee and on the campaign trail, Cheney has continued to hold conservative views on most issues.
“The Wyoming Republican’s anti-Trump maneuvers have lately belied her conservative policy views — particularly on foreign affairs, an area in which some progressives have managed to align with Trump in slamming her as a warmonger,” the site said. “It could be a big hurdle for Cheney as she considers a 2024 presidential run that would function as a means to block Trump from a return to the White House, something she has said is more important than any policy disagreements with Democrats. That may leave Cheney in a political no-man’s-land.”
In January, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggested that President Joe Biden should run in 2024 with Cheney or another anti-Trump Republican as his running mate. However, the chances of such a thing happening appear even more remote than those of Cheney getting far in a GOP presidential contest.
The idea, according to Friedman, was inspired by Israel having elected a government in 2021 that had elements from across the ideological spectrum, with little in common besides their opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu. However, Israel has a parliamentary, multi-party system of government very different from that of the U.S. – and that government has since fallen, with Netanyahu set to return to power.
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.