Beware the Liz Cheney mirage
There is little more satisfying than hearing from an arch enemy that you are, in fact, correct. It’s no wonder Democrats are letting that feeling wash over them, playing and replaying Liz Cheney’s House floor speech in which she states the controversial yet obvious: The votes have been counted, and even judges appointed by Trump agree. Biden got more of them.
And when politicians do the right thing, no matter their motivation, it’s good if the public rewards them, which ought to incentivize more politicians to do more good things.
But there is danger in reveling too much in the perceived nobility of the machinations of Liz Cheney. Satisfying as her lonely stand might be, Liz Cheney cannot save democracy, and Liz Cheney certainly can’t -- nor would she if she could -- save the Democratic Party from the abyss they are mindlessly frogmarching themselves toward. Only Democrats can save themselves, and the odds are tilting ever more heavily against their doing so.
On Thursday, Senate Democrats will convene to discuss how or whether to move forward on democracy reform and voting rights. On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration marked up S.1, the For the People Act, sending it to the Senate floor on a party-line vote of 9-9. It has already passed the House, but Sen. Joe Manchin, the deciding vote, has been backing away from it, saying he’d prefer instead to focus on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. That’s a much, much narrower bill, and would still allow Republicans to gerrymander their way back to a House majority.
Think about what that means. If the next Republican presidential candidate loses like Trump did, it will be up to the House of Representatives to certify the winner. There’s every reason to believe that chamber will be in the hands of people who just ousted Liz Cheney.
My story on Cheney is here. And if you missed the podcast episode on the For the People Act, that’s here.