By any fair measure, Rep. Liz Cheney is a conservative Republican. The Wyoming congresswoman voted with the Trump White House roughly 94% of the time, and up until last year, she was a member of the House GOP leadership in good standing.
With this in mind, when Cheney expressed a willingness to support and campaign for Democratic candidates, it raised a few eyebrows. NBC News reported:
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said Saturday that she would be willing to campaign for Democrats as she criticized her party’s acceptance of candidates who deny the results of the 2020 election. “Yes,” Cheney, of Wyoming, said simply when asked whether she’d be willing to stump for Democrats — the first time she has said so explicitly.
In context, the outgoing congresswoman, a month after her primary defeat, appeared at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin and reflected on Arizona gubernatorial race. Specifically, the discussion turned to Republican election denier Kari Lake, whose candidacy is based largely on ridiculous conspiracy theories.
Asked specifically whether she would campaign for Lake’s Democratic rival, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Cheney said, “I am going to do everything I can to make sure that Kari Lake is not elected.”
Pressed on whether that would include campaigning for Democrats, in order to defeat election deniers, the GOP lawmaker replied, “Yes.”
Cheney added that Lake’s candidacy is “dangerous” and partisanship “has to have a limit.”
The discussion wasn’t explicit on this point, but what the Wyoming Republican was describing was a simple litmus test: Election deniers have no place in elected office. Period. Full stop.
It is an entirely defensible position, predicated on the idea that those who reject the foundation of our system of government — we settle our differences at the ballot box, and agree to honor the will of the voters — simply can’t be trusted.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, who serves alongside Cheney on the Jan. 6 committee, spoke at the same event and said that once the select panel’s hearings wrap up, he’d tour the country with Cheney to model “civil and even affectionate discourse among people who agree about some fundamentals, and then disagree about some policy stuff.”
The point, of course, is not that “policy stuff” should be seen as trivial. I don’t imagine Raskin or Cheney would dismiss their substantive goals as unimportant.
Rather, both the progressive Democrat and the conservative Republican agree that holding free and fair elections matter — as do their results. It’s a basic principle that far too many GOP candidates and officeholders are abandoning, to Cheney’s apparent chagrin.