Right now, there is a clear path ahead for Liz Cheney, and it does not involve the state of Wyoming.
She will deny this. And she may not even believe it now.
And for the rest of this year, she will continue to represent us to the best of her ability in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But I could see her traveling a different path, based on a number of steps that could very well happen. Three events have set the stage for this scenario.
The first was when she voted to impeach President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the nation’s capital.
Second was when she announced publicly her intention to do everything in her power to keep Trump from ever being elected president again.
Third was when her House colleagues stripped her of her leadership post.
All three of these things needed to happen for the scenario I’m about to lay out to become realistic and predictable.
In late December of this year, I could see Cheney announcing that she is not going to run for reelection in Wyoming. Why put herself through such a grueling ordeal?
Here is what she will be up against:
Nine candidates (so far) will have been traveling the state from one end to the other trashing her and her record. They will be hooting over how the even the national Republicans in Congress bounced her from her leadership role.
She will also be facing the Donald Trump backlash, which will be focused on a Trump-endorsed, well-funded candidate who has been spending the entire year of 2021 traveling the state and campaigning against her.
The “clout” that Liz has been able to tout over her three terms has been diminished. The dominant Trump wing of the Republican Party is trying to bury her. Her Cheney name, which was gold in the GOP for a long time, has equally been diminished.
Here in Wyoming, the Trump crowd is firmly in control. And why not? The Cowboy State voted for Trump by the largest margin in the nation in the 2020 election, as well as in 2016. This IS Trump country.
When you look at the front-runners seeking the GOP nomination against Cheney — State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, State Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, and former candidate Darin Smith — they are united in their support of Trump. And in their intense opposition to Cheney.
It is also important to note that she has become a darling of the national media because of her opposition to Trump.
If she plays her cards right, she will get unbelievable amounts of good national press leading up to the presidential election in November 2024.
Cheney is now the de-facto leader of the national moderate Republicans, with all the major national media except Fox News proclaiming her newfound sainthood. One outlet even called her a modern “Joan of Arc.” Who could resist that?
Between now and Dec. 31, it is easy to predict that members of the old guard of the Republican Party, led by former President George Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, and others will form a very distinct wing of the national Republican Party. Former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson of Wyoming could very well get involved in the mix.
These folks identify as anti-Trumpers and that is exactly what they are. They will promote their efforts as reclaiming the Republican Party from the Cult of Trumpism.
They will embrace the Constitution and will maintain they are taking the high road, compared to the nastiness of the Trump crowd.
Who better to lead this new national group of moderate Republicans than Liz Cheney? I expect Cheney not to run for reelection to her U.S. House position and instead, take over this group. In her new role, she will also continue to bash President Joe Biden.
In her final act, she will run for president in 2024 as an independent or as leader of a new party if Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party.
She is serious about making sure Trump is never elected to office again.
Out here in Wyoming, a huge number of folks will be appalled. Even some of her loyal supporters will be stunned.
But Liz and her gang have a longer view (and a national view) — they plan to recapture the Republican Party and take it in a different direction.
In all of these scenarios, Wyoming will be pretty much in Liz’ rear view mirror. She has proven to be a champion fund-raiser on the national stage already — this is just a logical next step.