Donald Trump may come to wish Liz Cheney had held her seat in the house, stayed in Wyoming and the House and not gone national.
He won his revenge campaign by leading the charge to defeat her in the Wyoming GOP primary. But it was only round one. She has many future options on how to continue her strident efforts to put him in mothballs:
- Strategy Option 1 — Her priority has to be to bring the Jan. 6 congressional hearings to a decisive conclusion. The next episodes before she leaves office in January are scheduled for September, just ahead of the fall elections. Cheney could lead a push to recommend criminal charges against Trump and his allies by the Department of Justice. More charges, convictions and jail time could prick the delusional, righteous bubble that buoys the Trump euphoria and momentum. The Big Lie needs to become a forgotten aberration from the Big Truth that it was a relatively clean election. Trump just plain lost and his obsessive attempts to overturn a democratic election were illegal and all have fallen for lack of substance. The closing hearings will be watched by millions more than watched his reality TV.
- Strategy 2 — Once the hearings conclude — but not before, she could enter the 2024 presidential race on the Republican primary ticket. The “Will she or won’t she run” question will provide juicy media fodder. As Wyoming proved, she won’t win. But she could create havoc for Trump on the presidential campaign trail. She will draw as much or more media attention than he will. He will run from debates against her razor-sharp mind. Finally, unlike other GOP wimps, she can’t be bullied.
- Strategy Option 3 — She could run as an independent. Washington County is as red as a county can be. But as I get around the county, I can’t tell you how many Republicans approach me and tell of their fervent desire to vote for a “normal” Republican candidate. She could drag a lot of independents and fed-up Republicans away from Trump. Again, it’s an almost impossible long shot that she could win, but she could be a spoiler like Ross Perot was for George Bush and George Wallace was for Hubert Humphrey in 1968, starting with success in Wisconsin.
- Strategy Option 4 — She could run as a third-party candidate, but that would not give her a big media stick. Nonetheless, many people I talk to yearn for a new pragmatic, problem-solving party.
After the results from 2024 are in, with a Democrat as the probable winner if Trump runs, Cheney would be open for a wide variety of high-level bipartisan appointments. The country needs her clear-headed, democratic leadership (small “d”) in some highly visible capacity. Brilliant leaders don’t come along that often.
All along her path forward, Liz Cheney will be a media star, a highly sought and paid speaker. And probably an author following her equally brilliant mother Lynn. Her drumbeat messages won’t make Trump look good.