Liz Cheney for third-party spoiler candidate?

You are assuming that their is a significant cohort of Republicans who are seeking a “sane conservative choice” or will diverge from the party line to vote for a non-GOP presidential candidate. Modern Republicans have been conditioned to ‘win’ versus doing sensible, useful things to contribute to the health and welfare of the American people, or even keep the government marginally functional.

I like the way you think but I don’t think that Cheney père (not to be confuse with Pere Cheney, the Michigan logging ghost town) is doing either much hunting or drinking these days.


Well, I’m not really assuming anything, just throwing the idea out there as a thought experiment. There very well may not be enough Republicans seeking a “sane conservative choice” who would vote for Cheney.

Are you characterizing Liz Cheney as moderate, or am I misunderstanding your post? She’s not moderate at all - AIUI, her voting record is impeccably right wing.

While there are some commonalities, the spectrum of “sane to insane” and “moderate to extreme” are not the same thing.

I believe the premise of the OP is that she is seen as a moderate (at least relative to MAGA) by the electorate. Is she truly a moderate? Ha Ha Ha.

No, CairoCarol has it-- I don’t think Cheney would be seen as a more moderate choice, but as a more sane choice. At least, so I would hope. Her political track record is very conservative. I’d argue that she is more conservative than trump, at least to the degree that she has actual conservative beliefs, unlike trump, who doesn’t really believe in anything but his own right to power.

She is definitely hardline paleoconservative, largely isolationist, definitely aligned with oil/gas and investment banking interests, and I have no confidence that she isn’t solidly authoritarian under the guise of being a ‘normal’ Republican, but she’s not a proto-fascist who would make a concerted effort to break the government and burn the country to the ground if she doesn’t get everything she wants, or would she populate a cabinet or upper bureaucratic management with incompetent boobs like Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, or Ben Carson. She also has virtually no chance of attracting enough of the Republican vote to make a difference, and very well might catch enough people who are disillusioned with Biden’s real and imagined failures to actually hurt more than help as a “third party candidate”.

Also, her theme satirical song would probably be “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, and I have come to fucking loathe that song ever since it was repopularized by Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2:

And if you don’t love me now / you will never love me again.
I can still hear you saying / we would never break the Cheney.
(subvoice) Never break the Cheney!


Here is the problem with Cheney running as a spoiler. She is only 57 and voters are forgiving (or forgetful). Right now her Wyoming political future is toast for being anti-Trump but Trump/MAGA could fall out of favor and maybe she can have a second political life. If she runs third-party now she is anti-Republican which is a lot harder to forgive.

Yes, this is a very good reason for why she wouldn’t run third-party, but I didn’t think she actually would anyway. My OP was more of a thought experiment that if she did, would she be able to draw votes away from a likely Repub candidate trump? Or, as Akaj pointed out, could it backfire instead?

I don’t think it would be moderates, but conservatives who want a sane choice who would otherwise have voted for Biden. They do exist! As I mentioned upthread, my sister and BIL are trump-hating Republicans. i believe they did vote for Biden as the only sane choice in 2020. They might easily vote for a third-party Cheney instead.

Then why not pick a true moderate to run this thought experiment like Lisa Murkowski or Phil Scott? Someone that could conceivably poach moderate Republican voters. Because if you are expecting sane Trumpers then that’s just crazy.

Because I don’t think more moderate Repubs like them would be as effective at peeling off trump votes. You said yourself that protest voters don’t typically go more moderate than the candidate they’re protesting. Cheney is a strong conservative who has also created strong brand recognition as being anti-trump.

True, but I’m not thinking of actual trumpers, I’m thinking of traditionally conservative Republicans who do not like trump, but would reluctantly vote for him as the only conservative-ish choice, unless there was a Cheney. Yes, there may not be many of those, but there are some. It’s just a question of whether there may be enough to make a difference.

That is certainly what motivated his large turnout of RW-leaning folks who otherwise didn’t bother to vote. Ordinary Rs voted for him bacuse that line on the ballot said “(R)”, with no regard whatsoever for the name in front of it.

I have said many times in many threads that most of trump’s initial appeal before his election and for his years in office pre-COVID was that he was pranking the political class of both parties and doing it with all the sophistication of a high school class clown. Folks lurved them that pranking.

It stopped being as funny while COVID was killing so many people. Once the RWs could persuade themselves that nobody was actually dying of COVID, it was all just a false flag social control play by the Demoncrats, suddenly trump’s prankery was plenty funny again with no downsides. Which damn near carried him to a second term.


A lefty might vote for a no-hope candidate out of principal. A righty understands that any vote for anyone other than (R) amounts to a vote for (D).

Likewise in reality a principled abstention by anyone is much more a vote for your less-preferred R/D than it is a vote for your more preferred R/D. Armed with that knowledge, lefties facing an unpalatable D candidate make a principle abstention and righties facing an unpalatable candidate hold their nose as much as necessary and vote (R).

The time for spoilers is in the primaries. By the time we’re voting for real, any more or less neutral distractors, even mildly right-leaning ones, harm the Ds chances far more than the Rs chances.

As to firmly right-leaning distractors such as Cheney ...

Biden won the key swing states he did in 2020 on the basis of an unprecedented number of traditional (R) voters who “never trumped” by voting (D) for president even as they voted a pure R ticket downballot. If in 2024 you offer those voters someone like Cheney as poster child for “pre-trump but still red meat Republicanism”, a lot of them will take the opportunity to send that signal to the R hierarchy. Losing those votes versus last time means Biden loses those swing states in 2024.

Between those two effects, any significant 3rd party effort, whether of left, right, or far right, will harm the D candidate more than the R candidate.

Cheney provides no value to the Republican party or conservatives.

She can claim to be a conservative all she wants, but no one who would feasibly vote for her would believe her (and justifiably so).

The only safe way for this to work would be for Cheney to ONLY appear on the ballot in Trump states - particularly Texas and Florida. If she appeared in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, that could be disastrous for Biden. But if she could swing even one Trump state, that would be hugely beneficial.

Yes, good point, as @Akaj and @Stranger_On_A_Train pointed out as well; a Cheney third-party run could just as likely hurt Biden’s chances.

I think there are some Republicans who are well aware that she is a strong conservative, and that being anti-trump is perfectly compatible with being a strong conservative. Maybe not a lot, but I think they’re out there.

I just want to see the Republican Party grow a pair and oust Trump as their party leader.

But it isn’t, and hasn’t been for 6+ years now.

The electoral evidence has been overwhelming in that regard.

But trump’s appeal among hardcore trump nuts is not that he’s such a strong conservative, but that he’s ‘sticking it to the man’ as they see it, and hurting the people they hate. trump is no conservative, except inasmuch as he happens to support some policies typically thought of as conservative. But he has no real political beliefs other than the belief that he should be in power. True conservatives may go along with trump because they have no other choice, but I think there are conservatives out there who are well aware that trump’s supposed conservatism is a sham.

I disagree. He’s the modern definition of conservative.

This is the biggest tenet of modern conservatism. (And frankly has been the basis of conservative thought for decades, but Trump has manifested and fulfilled this better than any of his predecessors). The other stuff (taxes, regulations, etc) has always been window dressing.

It would be more of a matter of money than anything else. She could get the remaining Koch brother’s money as she is conservative enough.

I actually see her coming back more likely as a Wyoming senator. For whenever the terms run out there.

Nah, she’s got a long term gig going on MSNBC and being fêted for talking about how awful Trump et al are while papering over her and her father’s legacies.

Fuck her.