Meet Liz Cheney and here’s the progressive who can beat her in 2024 – whoever it is

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More than three weeks before Liz Cheney was bombed in the Wyoming primary, it was clear in our neighboring state to the north that her campaign was a failure.

Diane Carman

As we drove through Saratoga, Rock Springs, Jackson, Alta and beyond in late July, I counted three “Cheney for Wyoming” signs and dozens of “Hageman for Congress” billboards and signs. The polls were a more scientific measure for sure, and they were just as unequivocal.

Everyone knew it. Cheney was grilled.

Wyoming is deeply in the grip of the cult of Trumpism. And it’s not the only place that is.

Over 4,100 miles, we traveled through Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and British Columbia – as well as Wyoming – and witnessed an assortment of Americana ranging from Banner F — Biden and Let’s Go Brandon on homes in otherwise respectable neighborhoods in Idaho. to tidy public campgrounds with restrooms and showers for homeless people in downtown Seattle.

While Oregonians eagerly await January 1, 2023, when they can legally buy magic mushrooms, in Utah, possession of an ounce of marijuana can still result in a year in jail. (Which, by the way, hasn’t stopped dispensaries from clogging up the highways just across the border from Colorado.)

And while a trash can is as rare as a Democrat in Wyoming, Washington and across the border in British Columbia, the ethic of conservation is sacrosanct. Compostable cups, lids, straws, forks and take-out containers are the norm, and electric cars are ubiquitous.

The ideological boost can be breathtaking.

The West, alas, is wilder than ever, and a tour of the landscape outside our Colorado bubble is both instructive and alarming.

‘Lower your voice,’ my husband whispered as I talked about a news story about Alex Jones over breakfast at a Best Western in Evanston, Wyoming, where the lobby was spookily decorated with a full assortment of dead bears stuffed animals and other wild animals.

A few days earlier, we had seen crowds of young people swaying to music at an event to save wild salmon habitat.

READ: Colorado Sun Opinion Columnists.

Who are we?

Crossing the border provides yet another jolt of political culture shock.

At the Peace Bridge, a Canadian agent asked us if we had a gun in the car and if we had any weapons. When we answered no to both questions, she smiled.

“You live in Colorado and you don’t own a gun?

Ba-dump-bump.

In the scorching summer of 2022, the political rift between states, countries and political parties is yawning deep and wide.

What will it take to bridge the vast gap?

Liz Cheney bets it’s her.

Last January, when she voted to impeach Donald Trump in the January 6 uprising, it was obvious she had presidential ambitions and was charting her new political course.

She bet on a majority of Americans – including some Republicans – coming to their senses and rejecting the corruption, racism and lies at the heart of the cult of Trumpism. She put her career on the line with her role as vice-chair of the committee investigating the January 6 attack.

She has drawn relentless fire from her party and yet has taken center stage in politics at a time when the Democratic outlook for 2024 remains muted, and Republicans — Cruz, Pence, DeSantis — are like Larry, Moe and Curly, se bumping into each other as they try to figure out how far they have to go to bow down at Trump’s feet.

At least until the indictments drop.

Cheney patiently waits for the fault lines to shift (as they inevitably must), leaving him with the brave face of resistance; a proud slayer of dragons, tyrants, Giulianis, Hawleys and Trumps.

Through it all, as Wyoming voters unceremoniously dump her, she rides a wave of ovations from moderates and progressives who otherwise share little of her conservative views and openly lament her voting record.

And friends, who generally disagree with her positions on abortion rights, climate, voting rights and a host of other issues, express overflowing admiration for Cheney for her principled stance by calling for the responsibility of Trump and his enablers.

They would vote for her, they tell me, because she has the guts to stand up to a bully. And without her, they say, Trump could easily be re-elected in a group of liars, toads and generally undistinguished potential candidates.

She may not be so bad, they say. It’s a woman. She might even be good.

Maybe.

This is a calculation that I am not ready to make.

In a party where leaders can denounce Trump as a liar and a traitor and then stand up days later to defend him, his unwavering courage is impressive. She stands firm in the face of death threats and reprimands from her party and constituents.

For all of these reasons, Liz Cheney has earned a place in history.

She also earned my respect.

But she hasn’t won my vote yet.


Diane Carman is a communications consultant in Denver.


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