Six years ago, Donald Trump was elected alongside Liz Cheney. Cheney has won consistently with over 60 percent of the vote for Wyoming’s At Large House district races. In 2020, she was just shy of 70 percent, which is the same percentage as President Donald Trump’s vote in that election.
In the two years following the 2020 election Cheney has dedicated herself to the ongoing prosecution of Trump. This culminated in her participation at the January 6 Committee hearings. Together with Adam Kinzinger (an anti-Trump Republican), her goal was to expose Trump’s evil ways and show America that he is a traitorous insurrectionist. It is her mission to convince Republicans that Trump poisons.
Harriet Hageman is running for Cheney’s seat in Wyoming’s lone Congressional district. Hageman clearly does a great job convincing Wyoming primary voters to vote for her. She is currently up 29 points according to the University of Wyoming poll and averages more than 25 points according to RealClearPolitics. Even though disgraced Senator Al Franken supports Cheney, the UW poll shows that there are not enough Democratic crossover votes to save Cheney.
It would be easy to simply say it is a matter pro-Trump/anti-Trump and claim that Trump still controls the party at its base level. There is another thing to consider. CNN even picked it up.
Hageman, however, is more than Trump’s hand-picked nominee here in Wyoming.
Hageman grew up near Fort Laramie on her family’s small ranch. It was home to 207 people and is just a short distance from Nebraska’s border. Hageman was a prominent natural resources lawyer, who specialized in cases protecting the state’s water, public lands, and agriculture, long before Cheney’s fight.
CNN caught Hageman in Rock Springs, a town that is a coal mine in the southwestern corner of the state. She declined to answer any questions and said only, “This race about Wyoming, nothing other.”
Of course, the race has evolved to encompass much more. However, many Wyoming voters expressed appreciation for Hageman’s attention to energy, agriculture, and other issues that are of direct state importance.
Liz Cheney has been focusing entirely on Washington D.C., which has led to her losing the ability to connect to her voters. Hageman has a long track record of working on issues that are important to Wyoming voters. While Cheney was preaching on prime-time television that the candidate 70 percent of Wyoming voted for was a bad man and that Republicans supporting him are also bad, she has been present in the state. Hageman, however, has said the same about her state.
This election is about the people of Wyoming. It’s about having someone to fight for you. pic.twitter.com/EMRb4kOUPs
— Harriet Hageman – Text WYOMING to 90103 (@HagemanforWY) August 8, 2022
This mistake has been repeated by so-called moderate Republicans. Cheney wants to win a second term and believes she is doing the right things by going after Trump. We can argue whether this is the right thing at other times. The problem is that she is attacking Trump and her state’s voters. Wyoming’s citizens don’t like being labeled a threat to democracy for supporting Trump.
Cheney stated that “Republicans cannot be both loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution” in a speech delivered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, California, not too long ago. This rhetoric is especially offensive to those who elected her. Donald Trump doesn’t care about the opinions of her voters. She is free to be unhappy with her choices. She’s doing it for herself.
It’s one thing for someone to vote for impeachment. It’s quite another to deny the support you have received from your state by attacking them with their support for Trump. While you can make an argument about the need to move forward, it’s not enough to make your entire existence about Trump. It’s possible, as many Republicans have shown. However, joining the Democrat Party’s assault on the entire Republican base will not help you win the votes that are necessary to keep your seat in the House.
You can’t be moderate if you tell both sides they shouldn’t vote. The majority of people who don’t support a party pick their side based on the actions or inactions of the parties. The current policies and current state of affairs have influenced most voters’ choices. Fewer voters base their decisions on Washington D.C.’s political climate.
Cheney chose D.C. over Wyoming. She is now facing a humiliating defeat but will call it martyrdom, rather than embarrassment.