[Note: the notions set forth in this post are ultimately based upon the perhaps questionable assumption that Trumplicans who have captured discretionary control of the electoral mechanisms in some swing states don’t deny the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee fairly-won Electoral College votes.]
What follows is largely cast on the presumption that former President Donald Trump will seek the 2024 Republican nomination for president. At this juncture it seems overwhelmingly likely he will, and – perhaps to the surprise of those who know that I consider him and his acolytes a fascist cult – I hope he does. Trump Wannabes such as FL. Gov. Ron DeSantis are clearly seeking to exploit the resentment and unrest Mr. Trump has incited to their own political advantage, but such Wannabes, although potentially every bit as anti-democratic as Mr. Trump, would carry less baggage into a 2024 presidential election and thus, be harder for a Democrat to defeat; furthermore, even if a Wannabe was defeated, such might only serve to reinforce rather than diminish Mr. Trump’s corrosive influence. I would submit that what we have seen over the last two years makes it clear that Mr. Trump himself must be defeated – he needs to be made a two-time loser — if we are going to start to excise the growing cancer in the American polity to which he has given license.
As all who care are aware, last week U.S. WY Rep. Liz Cheney lost the Republican primary to run as the party’s nominee for the Wyoming Congressional seat she now holds — to a Trump supplicant, by a 66.3% to 28.9% margin — and thus, will be leaving Congress at the end of this year.
Media commentators are now jumping over each other to declare that Ms. Cheney might run for the 2024 Republican nomination for president. She has reportedly strongly hinted at a presidential campaign in interviews. In January and May I speculated in these pages that she might mount such a presidential run, and upon the effect that such a campaign could have on the White House aspirations of Mr. Trump or, if Mr. Trump decided not to run, upon those of Trump Wannabes such as Mr. DeSantis.
First: If Ms. Cheney declares for the presidency, she will, given the increasing tendency to violence fomented by Mr. Trump among his cult, be exposing herself to the most imminent physical danger of any presidential candidate at least as far back as U.S. MA Sen. Edward Kennedy’s 1980 campaign (Mr. Kennedy’s family and advisors then understandably feared the possibility that an unbalanced assailant might seek to replicate the assassinations of Mr. Kennedy’s brothers). Such a campaign will require extraordinary physical courage. If advising Ms. Cheney, I would therefore point out that she has strong reasons not to make a run: foremost, her husband and five children. I would also indicate what I am pretty sure she already knows: she is probably the only person in America that has a real chance to bring about the political demise of Donald Trump.
Some pundits have suggested that Ms. Cheney might seek to confront Mr. Trump through a communications strategy rather than a political campaign. If she is indeed willing to continue her battle with Mr. Trump, she should reject such a notion. Think of the clever but largely ineffective work of The Lincoln Project. It’s hard to see how any similar effort by Ms. Cheney – who, under such an approach, would be “yesterday’s news” – would be any more successful.
To command and maintain the media attention that an effective effort against Mr. Trump will require, Ms. Cheney needs to be “news,” which means that she must – to borrow a phrase from former President Richard Nixon – enter the Arena. She must declare her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. I believe she knows this. (If her goal is to keep Mr. Trump out of the White House, she cannot run as an Independent. I am pretty sure that she and those around her must realize that such an Independent effort would ultimately siphon from the Democratic nominee the votes of those moderately-conservative voters uneasy with progressive policies who are nonetheless determined to vote against Mr. Trump; any split in the anti-Trump vote in November, 2024, will obviously enhance Mr. Trump’s chances to reclaim the presidency.)
Because Rep. Cheney has virtually no chance of securing the Republican nomination – of which I am also pretty confident that she is aware — I’ve heard more than one commentator accordingly declare that any campaign she would launch would be a “kamikaze mission.” I disagree. I would submit that her campaign from its very outset would be more accurately described as political guerrilla warfare – intended to weaken the enemy, not to defeat him outright. The form such an effort might take will be addressed in Part II of this note.