Congresswoman Liz Cheney is political royalty in Wyoming. Her father was Vice President and she quickly rose in the ranks in the Republican caucus on Capitol Hill after joining the House of Representatives in 2017. But after the alleged defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, Cheney’s hatred for him started shining through. As a result, she has been pushed aside by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and attacked by conservatives mercilessly.
It’s easy to say that Cheney has no chance of winning reelection next year based on her status within the party, but we mustn’t take for granted her popularity in Wyoming. She beat her last primary challenger by a 2-to-1 margin. The challengers who have announced so far in Wyoming have very little name recognition, and in a state with such a low population it will be difficult for any of her opponents to raise enough money to buy sufficient exposure.
There’s some good news, though, as political consultants as well as many in the donor class have abandoned the NeverTrumper. According to Breitbart:
Jeff Miller, a prominent lobbyist in Washington who has close ties to McCarthy, is telling other Republican political consultants that they must choose between working with McCarthy or working with Cheney, according to the New York Times. In recent weeks, Miller has been giving off the message of “us-or-her.”
Miller’s messaging has already prompted one of Cheney’s fundraising firms, the Morning Group, to disassociate from her. The congresswoman had originally hired the Morning Group for help with raising a war chest against the onslaught of potential challengers and specifically one endorsed by former President Donald Trump. A source told the Times that the group informed her last month that it will be cutting ties.
Cheney, who was booted from her House Republican leadership position in May, could potentially cause problems for McCarthy in the future if she is reelected and the Republicans are in the majority. Cheney, who has been a source of controversy since breaking with her party to vote to impeach Trump, could continue to be a problem for McCarthy if he gains the speakership.
The Wyoming Republican has already vocalized her opinion of McCarthy, making it clear she does not support him, which comes after the Wyoming Republican broke ranks and agreed to sit on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) January 6 select committee, despite McCarthy saying no Republican would be joining it, a move that earned Cheney the name “Pelosi Republican.”
All indicators seem to point to a return of GOP control in the House during the midterm elections. Democrats are facing massive backlash from the people over the failed policies they’ve pushed since holding control of the House, Senate, and White House. But if Cheney is reelected, she will become the de facto leader of the internal resistance within the party. She and Kevin McCarthy are not friends, and while I am not a fan of McCarthy’s I’d take him over Cheney any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.
There’s another component of the Wyoming election that must also be considered. Cheney, like her father, is a Neocon. There has been a quiet but notable rise in neoconservative leanings on Capitol Hill in recent years following the fading status of the Tea Party and confusion surrounding the tenets of America First populism. The Afghanistan debacle didn’t help the issue as opposition to Joe Biden prompted many Republicans to question why we left the quagmire the way we did.
That in itself is not a bad thing; our departure was botched so terribly that even mainstream media had to cover it. But there’s a fine line between the conservative perspective that we should have had a plan to get our people and equipment out of there and the Neocon perspective that we shouldn’t have left at all.
The worst thing conservatives can do at this point is take for granted that Cheney is finished. We must exert as much pressure as possible to make sure she is handily defeated in the primaries. If not, the party will be split even after they retake the House.
Image by the U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr, Public Domain.