73% to 28.9% of the vote in two years.
Such is the fall (or rise, depending on how you look at it) of former Congressional Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming. She lost her re-election bid to Trump backed candidate Harriet Hageman on Tuesday, August 16th.
There are a plethora of reaction pieces about it. Naturally, they fall in two general schools: MAGA enthusiasts celebrating the fall of a chief antagonist, or Never Trumpers and Democrats commending Ms. Cheney for her courage in standing up to a former president.
For myself, Cheney’s loss reinforces a more upsetting truth of our political system, an additional indication of our democracy’s rot, which persuaded me not to enter the political arena.
“…I mean, she could have criticized Trump. She could have said, look, I don’t believe the election was fraudulent. I don’t like what the former president is doing. Could have done that, and I think she still would have won the primary. But what put her over the top, as far as Wyoming voters were concerned, is that she allied herself with Nancy Pelosi. And you can’t do that if you are a Republican because Nancy Pelosi is a radical leftist who hates the Republican Party.
And that’s what Cheney did. And Pelosi used her to front the January 6th committee. I mean, you remember this famous picture with Cassidy Hutchinson….You know, you don’t have to sell out in your estimation. But if you become a zealot on the other side, Republicans are going to go, no. And that’s exactly what happened.”
In an ideal world, the nuanced position that Mr. O’Reilly suggests would be possible. Republicans would be able to say: “I believe Joe Biden won the election. But I have concerns in how it was run and they should be investigated.” Their seats would be secure despite challenging the leader of the party.
However, Ms. Cheney chose to conduct herself as she did because a nuanced position is nigh impossible when Mr. Trump continues to label the 2020 election as rigged or stolen and efforts to investigate the results persist in multiple states. Like most matters with the 45th president, you’re with him or against him.
Granted, Ms. Cheney could have been a little less friendly with Speaker Pelosi, who is diametrically opposed to the Republican Party, and shouldn’t have endorsed Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony without qualification, despite the Secret Service willing to dispute one its most salacious bits. Still, once you endorse Mr. Biden’s victory as legitimate, your days in the GOP are numbered.
Look at all of the politicians who have challenged Mr. Trump. Most have been primaried or retired. There’s only room for the sheriff with a bad toupee in this town.
As I witness this struggle, it has never been more evident why I didn’t run for office.
But because she didn’t believe the ‘Big Lie,’ her years of service and her policy positions didn’t matter. In fact, she might as well as been a communist as far as the MAGA movement is concerned.
Similarly, I embraced politics from high school onward. I studied political science along with history and Spanish. I joined political clubs, but made sure to join meetings for opposing groups and hear what they had to say.
I read widely, considering what political philosophies and solutions exist and why. I changed my positions as I learned more and matured.
I aim to carry the same spirit in my blogging. If I like a Republican or Democratic idea, politician or policy, I say so. If I don’t, I say so. I do my utmost to avoid cheap political attacks and engage with political proposals or their proponents on a logical basis. I made my objections known and always invite people to chat.
Sometimes I fail, but I am only human.
None of this seems to matter. I have been called a liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, war criminal, Communist and everything in between as my opinions don’t easily fit into the Left-Right paradigm, both pre and post Trump.
Nuance in this political climate is an endangered species.
A functioning democracy allows citizens and officials, especially of the same elected party, criticizing their leaders without fearing retaliation or expulsion.
This is common sense.
Yet it appears to be disappearing.
A functioning democracy allows for a blending on political positions, as one source cannot hold all the answers.
This is common sense.
Yet to suggest so is utter blasphemy.
Ms. Cheney’s dance to political death hits me harder than it might others because it’s what could have happened to me if I had chosen to become a politician.
There are many costs to such a career.
There is no delineation between private and public life.
Friends and associates may turn on you.
Hours are long with no guarantee of praise or future job security.
But of all the possible drawbacks, one hits the most, exemplified by Ms. Cheney’s rapid exit from Wyoming politics.
I could not be true to myself. I would have to take extreme positions to appease the Left or the Right, at the cost of my intellectual integrity.
That cost is too high.
Perhaps that is why so few run for office.
It’s why I didn’t.
It’s why I most likely never will.