Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Liz Cheney clearly wants to run against Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race, either in the GOP primaries or as an independent in the general election. Last week I said a Cheney third-party run would be a terrible idea:
The belief that Cheney would hurt Trump in a general election by running third-party is, to put it bluntly, insane -- notice who's rallied to her recently (Democrats, moderate independents, the mainstream media) and who hasn't (any significant bloc of Republican voters). Of course she'd split the anti-Trump vote and guarantee his victory.
And it appears I was right:
... a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that if Cheney were to run for president as an independent in 2024, she could ... single-handedly swing the election to Trump....

It found that if the 2024 election were held today — and if it were a one-on-one rematch between President Biden and Trump — Biden would lead by 4 points among registered voters, 46% to 42%.

But in a three-way race with Cheney on the ballot as an independent, Trump would suddenly vault to an 8-point lead over Biden, 40% to 32%.

In that scenario, Cheney trails with just 11% of the vote. The problem for Biden is that nearly all of Cheney’s votes come at his expense — and there are enough of them, in theory, to put Trump over the top.

But what about a Cheney run in the Republican primaries? Last week on Twitter, I predicted that she wouldn't even crack 5% versus Trump and Ron DeSantis. Well, I was close:
In a hypothetical three-way GOP primary contest, just 6% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they would support Cheney.

According to the poll, her presence in the primary would do nothing to diminish Trump’s substantial odds of securing the nomination. One on one, Trump laps Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by 18 points (49% to 31%); with Cheney on the ballot, the former president still leads by the exact same margin (50% to 32%).
So a Cheney presidential run, of either variety, is a bad idea. But what other lessons can we take away from this poll? Here's one: Every mainstream pundit who talks about ideological extremism as if it's an equal problem in the Democratic and Republican parties is completely uninformed about the nature of the actual Democratic Party:
Needless to say, Cheney’s outspoken opposition to Trump has not endeared her to rank-and-file Republicans (who mostly still support the former president). Just 18% of them now hold a favorable opinion of her, according to the poll. A full 61% view Cheney unfavorably.

The opposite is true, however, among Democrats. Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) now rate Cheney favorably, while just 18% express an unfavorable opinion — remarkable numbers for a lifelong Republican who was best known, until recently, for her staunch social conservatism and hawkish foreign-policy views.

As a result, Democrats are surprisingly supportive of a Cheney presidential bid, with roughly equal numbers saying yes (30%) and no (33%) when asked if she should run in 2024. Republicans are against the idea by an overwhelming 70%-to-10% margin.
Pundits who want to bothsides every issue by portraying the average Democrat as a police-defunding, ICE-abolishing, pronoun-obsessed wokeness Nazi -- because they need to believe Democrats are as far to the left as Republicans are to the right -- grossly misrepresent typical Democrats. Frankly, I wish Democratic voters were a bit more ideological. But this is who Democrats are. Many of them have fallen head over heels for Cheney, and far too many of them would choose her over Biden. So remember this poll the next time you read a self-righteous op-ed that includes the phrase "extremists on both sides."

No comments: