How Liz Cheney Could Defeat Trump – Not With a 2024 Run – In an analysis of the top 10 Republicans who are most likely to enter the 2024 presidential race, political strategist Greg Valliere listed former Republican Representative for Wyoming, Liz Cheney. Valliere argued that Cheney is likely to run as a “dark horse” candidate in the Republican primary, even if the polls suggest that Cheney doesn’t have a shot at winning the nomination.
Unlike Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has refrained from directing attacks back at former President Donald Trump and who can attract Trump’s Republican base with his populist conservative approach, Cheney remains hugely unpopular.
According to Morning Consult surveys, Cheney has maintained just 2-3% support since at least December in a hypothetical Republican primary that includes her, Mike Pence, Greg Abbott, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, Glenn Youngkin, Kristi Noem, Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, and Donald Trump.
In recent months, news about Cheney has died down. Little has been said about a prospective 2024 run, or even how she intends to continue her campaign to delegitimize former President Donald Trump.
Despite the silence, though, Cheney is unlikely to have given up on her efforts to remove Trump from the forefront of the GOP and return the party to its pre-populist days.
How she goes about that, we’ll have to wait and see – but we do know that Cheney is willing to do everything within her power to get her own way and oust conservative populism from the GOP entirely.
Whatever It Takes to Defeat Trump?
Cheney has already proven just how willing she is to work with the Democrats to hurt former President Donald Trump and his backers in the Republican Party. Cheney was not only the top Republican on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s politically-charged January 6 committee, but she even helped Democrats campaign in last year’s midterms.
In November last year, Cheney received a standing ovation at a rally for Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Democrat from Michigan that Cheney praised as a “good and honorable public servant.”
“We have to stand up – every one of us – and say we’re going to do what’s right for this country and we’re going to look beyond partisan politics,” Cheney told the audience. It was the clearest sign yet that Cheney is willing to cross the aisle.
Liz Cheney: A Democrat?
It may also have been an indication that Cheney’s hatred for Trump could be so strong that she’s willing to not only leave the Republican Party but become a Democrat.
Last year, during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith, Cheney said that she would do “whatever it takes” to take down Trump. Smith asked Cheney if she was willing to go as far as running for president herself.
“I certainly will do whatever it takes to make sure Donald Trump isn’t anywhere close to the Oval Office,” Cheney said, adding that she would ultimately leave the party if Trump does get the nomination again in 2024.
“I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, make sure he’s not the nominee…and if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” Cheney said.
Cheney’s comments suggest that if she is to ever go as far as joining the Democrats, it’ll be after the 2024 GOP presidential primary process is over – and it probably means she won’t run as a Democrat for president, as some may have speculated.
But even if Cheney were to leave the GOP, and if she were to join the Democrats, her anti-Trump credentials probably won’t be enough to make her a powerful figure within the party.
Is Cheney Making A Mistake?
Hating Trump will only get Liz Cheney so far within the Democratic Party. Ultimately, the former congresswoman for Wyoming is a conservative – at least, more conservative than her new allies within the Democratic Party.
Democrats in Congress and the activists that get them elected struggled enough dealing with Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema standing in the way of President Joe Biden’s hard-left agenda the last two years. Being anti-Trump will only win Cheney so much favor with Democrats until she, hypothetically, becomes a force akin to both Manchin and Sinema within their party.
If Cheney truly intends to disrupt Trump’s efforts to take the 2024 GOP nomination, she’d be wise to skip the games with the Democrats and avoid her own 2024 run. A Cheney candidacy in a crowded GOP field would split the anti-Trump vote within the party.
Liz Cheney may also be wise to use whatever influence she has left within the party to discourage anti-Trump candidates from running their own campaigns for too long, and instead rally around Trump’s biggest competition. A head-to-head race between Trump and a staunchly conservative candidate with less baggage could see the former president lose. Faced with a crowded field of candidates, Trump is likely to win with a plurality of the vote, just as he did in 2016.
It would, however, require Liz Cheney to swallow her pride and back another populist conservative – likely Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – if she wants to take down Trump in the hopes that one day the party returns to the politics of the Bush era.
Regardless of whether the nominee is Trump or DeSantis, though, that doesn’t seem likely in the short term.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.