The strong signal from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) that she could run for president has Democrats talking about what a pro-democracy, anti-Trump conservative candidate could do for the political future of the President Biden.
Cheney, who lost the same House bid she easily won last time out, gave an impassioned concession speech about the dangers of re-electing the former Republican president in 2024. The next morning, she previewed her own possible prospects in a TV interview which added to speculation that she herself may seek a White House term.
“It’s something I’m thinking about and will make a decision in the coming months,” she told the Today To display.
For Cheney, former President Trump and his strain of MAGA culture, as well as his disregard for the nation’s basic principles, is something she will do “whatever it takes” to stop, she said. declared to the network. For Democrats, however, his insistence offers something else: a big unknown in what should already be an unpredictable election cycle.
“I greatly admire what Liz has done. She sacrificed her career in Congress to stand up to Trump,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) told The Hill on Thursday. “As for 2024, I don’t know. not if she ran as an independent that it would hurt Trump. There is a danger that she could inadvertently help Trump more than hurt him.
At the White House, Biden reportedly called to congratulate Republican No. 3 in the lower house after her double-digit loss, an act of bipartisanship that is second nature to the president but has become rare in an increasingly polarized.
While many in the Democratic Party admire his service — the idea of “country before party” has been central to Biden’s political life and what inspired much of his successful presidential bid — there is no is no clear consensus on how a Cheney candidacy might fall apart.
Some Democrats see the conservative congresswoman splitting the Republican vote, breaking up the coalition around Trump and weakening it. In this scenario, these voices are hoping that Cheney would hypothetically make Biden a stronger candidate in the general election, and his presence in the race would help make Trump a one-term president.
Others, however, like Boyle, have questions. They believe she could reduce votes for Biden, who in 2020 enjoyed some support from voters who disliked Trump and voted Democrat by default.
With another GOP or an independent option, this choice can be complicated.
“If she really wants to run and try to win – either a Republican primary or a general as an independent – the people who tell her to do so are delusional and/or handcuffed to a green chamber installed on an Acela train” , Eddie said. Vale, a Democratic strategist. “The inevitable end result is that she draws anti-Trump votes from Biden.”
Democrats saw Biden’s prospects in 2024 as difficult for much of his first term. For months, his standing within his own party had sunk so low that many were calling the midterm elections a lost cause and blaming the president whom they saw as unable to deliver on his campaign promises and broader legislative agenda. .
That sentiment began to change this month, when he signed a landmark tax, climate and health care bill after negotiations with two of his party’s most stubborn moderate senators, Joe Manchin ( W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona). The White House touted a high job count in August, and he also scored a victory overseas, killing a key al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan. This is in addition to the previous bipartisan infrastructure bill and COVID-19 improvements the administration marked earlier in its term.
As a result, Biden’s previously anemic poll numbers began to rise.
The idea that Cheney could somehow deflate Biden’s momentum and put doubt in voters’ minds about his re-election when he comes forward with the possibility of another option has some Democrats on edge.
But progressives, who remember the Cheney brand of his father, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his pivotal role in the Iraq war under George W. Bush, take his words less seriously. Some even despise what they consider pride.
“Some Democrats would rather see Liz Cheney in the Party than progressives,” Nina Turner, former presidential campaign co-chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former House candidate for Cleveland, wrote on Twitter. “Ashamed.”
Not only would many not vote for her, but others see her as essentially a non-factor in a race that already has major figures like Biden and Trump in the conversation, and other Republicans and even some Democrats are considering throwing their names in the mix. Some Republicans already suggest Cheney would run as a Democrat.
“Liz Cheney has no chance of winning either party’s primary,” said Sean McElwee, who founded and runs the left-leaning polling firm Data for Progress. “I’m happy to make a bet with anyone who disagrees.”
Asked about the possibility of a 2024 race, Cheney’s spokeswoman pointed to part of the concession speech she gave in Wyoming on Tuesday night.
“So, I’m asking you tonight to join me,” Cheney said in part. “As we leave here, resolve that we will stand together – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – against those who would destroy our Republic.”
Cheney received national attention for her high profile on the Jan. 6 committee, where the House investigated the United States Capitol insurrection, moving her away from the legacy of her family’s name and closer to his own brand of a principled conservative in a Republican party that still sees Trump as its leader.
Democrats see Trump’s moves, campaigning and endorsing downvote candidates and holding a war chest, as signs he’s looking to mount another bid. He basically previewed this at New York Magazine last month, talking about the timing of a possible announcement instead of the general idea of racing.
The FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago residence added another undetermined element to the election that is still two years away. Taken in context, Cheney’s movements – including the $15 million from this round that she amassed during his candidacy made for television and arecently announced political action committee focused on stopping Trump – have games on best and worst possible scenarios.
“If her goal is to stop Trump and she’s running every day to be a human wrecking ball because of her dishonesty and her assault on democracy during the primary, of course that’s helpful,” said Vale, with a caveat: “If she then encourages anyone who doesn’t support Trump to vote for Biden in the general election.