Boston Globe| by Shannon Larson | June 28, 2023
Former Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney provided a blunt evaluation of the state of American democracy on Monday.
“What we’ve done in our politics is create a situation where we’re electing idiots,” she said.
Cheney, who lost her congressional primary to Donald Trump-endorsed lawyer Harriet Hageman last year and is now a professor at the University of Virginia, was speaking at an event with philanthropist David Rubenstein about the future of bipartisanship and the two-party system.
Cheney bucked her party by emerging as an outspoken critic of Trump and his baseless claims about the presidential election being stolen. She served as the vice chair of the House panel that investigated the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Cheney has since vowed to do everything she can to prevent Trump from returning to the White House.
During the conversation at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Cheney reiterated that ensuring Trump is not elected president again remains her top priority.
“We have to do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said.
Rubenstein, who had attempted earlier in the event to press Cheney on whether she would launch a bid for the presidency, then presented her with a hypothetical scenario. If presented with polling data that showed that her candidacy as an independent was more likely to hurt Trump’s chances of getting elected than not, would she choose to run?
Cheney demurred from directly answering the question and instead offered her assessment of what is currently wrong with American politics.
“Look, I think that the country right now faces hugely challenging and fundamentally important issues. What we’ve done in our politics is create a situation where we’re electing idiots,” she said as the audience erupted in laughter and applause.
“And so, I don’t look at it through the lens of, is this what I should do or what I shouldn’t do? I look at it through the lens of, how do we elect serious people? And I think electing serious people can’t be partisan,” Cheney said.
“Because of the situation we’re in where we have a major party candidate who’s trying to unravel our democracy — and I don’t say that lightly — we have to think about alright, what kinds of alliances are necessary to defeat him? And those are the alliances we’ve got to build across party lines,” she continued.
“If the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump, it will shatter,” Cheney said of Trump, the current frontrunner despite multiple criminal indictments against him.
Shannon Larson can be reached at s[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.