Monday, August 15, 2022


If this Washington Post story is correct, Liz Cheney is quite serious about entering the Republican presidential primaries, although not exactly to win:
Cheney is looking far beyond Tuesday’s Republican primary for this state’s at-large seat in the U.S. House, a race that she is likely to lose....

But Cheney is clear-eyed when it comes to her chances of actually winning the presidential nomination in a party that is still so loyal to former president Donald Trump, according to friends and advisers. She sees her future role similar to how she views the work of the Jan. 6 committee: Blocking any path for Trump back to the Oval Office.

“It’s about the danger that he poses to the country, and that he can’t be anywhere close to that power again,” she told a crowd of supporters in Cheyenne just before the committee hearings launched in early June....

[Dmitri] Mehlhorn advises several donors across the political spectrum who are opposed to Trump, including the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. He said he and the donors he works with would consider funding a Cheney presidential bid.

... Cheney and a small but influential bloc of anti-Trump Republicans have decided that there must be a 2024 candidate who will run as an unabashed opponent of both the ex-president and other contenders who spew his mistruths about the 2020 election....

Cheney and her crowd want a candidate who would serve merely as a political kamikaze, blowing up his or her candidacy but also taking down Trump.

“You need that. I think it’s got to be somebody that’s willing to take the boos, take the yells,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), the only other Republican on the Jan. 6 committee, said in a recent interview. “Somebody [who] can stand on the stage and just tell people the truth, I think that would have a huge impact.”
But would it have a huge impact? Cheney and other anti-Trump Republicans worry that Trump will coast to the nomination if he's not attacked by an opponent. But there's no reason to believe that attacks Trump will hurt him -- just the opposite, in fact. Look at what's going on right now:

This isn't The West Wing. You can't damage Trump with a principled direct attack -- especially if you're the most hated of RINOs. I'll grant that Cheney is an excellent public speaker who can succinctly and compellingly explain to reasonable people why Trump is unfit to serve. But the Republican voter base includes very few reasonable people. Its voters are overwhelmingly motivated by resentment of their political enemies. The constant presence of one of those enemies on the campaign trail attacking Trump will make him seem like a hero even to the voters who have been wavering in their support.

Garance Franke-Ruta thinks it's an issue of gender:

But in 2016 Trump rolled right past Carly Fiorina too, and he paid no price for telling an interviewer, in reference to her, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Trump also tried to intimidate Hillary Clinton while they were debating, and said of her, "Such a nasty woman." That's how he'll treat Cheney, and Republican voters will love it.

Investigations and other legal proceedings might make it impossible for Trump to pursue the presidency again -- that's our best hope if we want him out of the race. Otherwise, we'll just have to beat him in November. Beat him by asking Republican voters to have a conscience about democracy? That's the approach that's least likely to be successful.

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