Who Cares If Liz Cheney Becomes a Democrat?: Liz Cheney is the heir of a famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) political legacy. The daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, the younger Cheney followed her father’s footsteps into the arena of politics.
Having long associated herself with deeply conservative causes, just as her father had throughout his long career in Republican politics, it was always assumed that she was merely a younger, female carbon copy of her father. She ultimately came to serve in the same office that her father did: as an elected member of the United States House of Representatives representing her home state of Wyoming.
Considering her constant challenges to Donald Trump, would she ever flip to the Democratic Party?
Liz Cheney’s Actual Record
While in office, Liz Cheney did little to differentiate herself from the rest of the Republican pack on the Hill.
Her time in office ran contemporaneously with that of then-President Donald J. Trump. Although the two belonged to the same political party, their dispositions couldn’t have been more different. Trump had distinguished himself during the vitriolic 2016 Republican Presidential Primary by fiercely attacking the legacies of both former President George W. Bush as well as Liz Cheney’s father. It was obvious that Liz Cheney, along with so many other elected Republicans, disliked the forty-fifth president and were unsure of how to handle his presidency.
Despite her initial reservations, however, Liz Cheney still courted Trump for help in her campaign to become the representative for Wyoming on Capitol Hill. Liz Cheney rode the Trump wave to get power. Once in office, it was clear that ideologically the orthodox conservative from Wyoming did not appreciate the heterodox populist from Manhattan who was also her party’s leader.
Breaking Points: January 6
That all changed with the awful events of January 6.
On that day, former President Trump’s insistence that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats came to a head, when purported supporters of the former president charged Capitol Hill, broke through the barricades, and went rampaging throughout Congress in a bizarre attempt to stop the 2020 election from being finalized.
Liz Cheney, along with most of the elected Democrats, believed that Trump encouraged the attack on Capitol Hill and demanded an investigation into the matter.
In fact, Liz Cheney became the leader of the handful of GOP leaders who broke with Trump and sides with the Democrats in investigating the forty-fifth president’s supposed role in that attack.
The events of January 6 were a terrible day for this country. But the idea that the former president was the architect of the riot on Capitol Hill was a much more difficult accusation to prove. Trump may have made statements that encouraged some of the misbehaviors on that day. When the riot began, Trump may have displayed a staggering inability to effectively respond to the crisis.
Was he responsible for it, though?
Liz Cheney believed Trump was. She quickly shifted from being one of Trump’s most reliable backers in the House of Representatives to being one of his fiercest opponents. The issue she and the handful of other Republicans who joined her in her crusade against Trump were that her party did not support any investigation into the matter.
Even when the Republican leadership was briefly considering joining the January Sixth Committee that then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had insisted be created to investigate the matter, she refused to let the Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pick the Republicans who would serve on the committee.
Pelosi was going to pick everyone. This broke with longstanding Congressional tradition and called into doubt the true intention of the investigation. It certainly wasn’t going to be a bipartisan affair.
Was it to get to the bottom of that horrible day or was it simply to pile on the Democratic Party’s most hated enemy, Donald J. Trump?
Liz Cheney became the most prominent member of the January Sixth Committee. It was her incisiveness and dogged determination that kept what many—notably on the Right—believed was an overzealous, biased investigation going.
Because of her obsessive pursuit of the former president, Liz Cheney lost her seat in Congress (which was one of the safest congressional seats for any Republican). She did, however, become a media darling.
This was an especially incredible event to see: the same members of the mainstream media who pilloried her father (as well as herself) for their stance on the Iraq War in 2003 became her greatest cheerleaders.
Now that she’s out of office, many are wondering what next will she do with herself?
Liz Cheney is a political creature just like her father. She can no more leave that arena than she could cut out her own heart.
A Woman Without a Party
But Liz Cheney is a woman without a party.
For while the Democratic Party elite champion her, they are also digging her political grave deeper by constantly reminding her former Republican colleagues that she did great damage to the party. And, in a sense, how Cheney betrayed her fellow Republicans by allowing herself to be used by Pelosi and the Democrats to conduct a quixotic and shamelessly partisan attack on Cheney’s party.
Had Cheney instead insisted on a sober and bipartisan investigation into a national nightmare—while refusing to support such a show trial if Pelosi and the Democrats insisted on controlling the whole investigation—she might have been able to square the particular political circle she now finds herself in.
Liz Cheney can become a Democrat if she wants. That will not help her. Even when the Democratic Party elite were celebrating her support of the January Sixth Committee, most Democratic Party voters were weary of her—notably those on the Left, who never forgot or forgave both she and her father’s role in the Iraq War.
Liz Cheney: Now a Democrat?
For all the talk surrounding Cheney’s newfound alliance with the Democratic Party, it’s not as if she switched teams fully; she remains committed to most conservative orthodoxy that she’s always believed in. It was just that Liz Cheney loathed Donald Trump. That is not the basis for a viable political realignment.
As the Politico reporter, Andrew Desiderio, wrote in September 2022, “Democrats have no regrets about building Cheney up, largely because they don’t expect their voters to support her in any future [presidential] race.” And if she believes she can reclaim her House seat—or maybe even move into the Senate—by running as a Democrat, then Cheney really doesn’t understand her home state as well as she thinks.
So, whether Liz Cheney self-identifies as a Democrat or a Republican, it won’t matter any more than if a tree falls in a forest. No one will notice or much care. She already served her purposes for the Democrats.
Now, her days as a viable national candidate are numbered. Hopefully, Liz Cheney finds academia more fulfilling than her previous line of work.
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower(Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.