Should democrats help Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger?
By DAVID W. MARSHALL
The Reconciled Body
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Wyoming is undoubtedly “Trump Country,” and the Republican voters there are making it known that Rep. Liz Cheney is no longer welcome. As Republicans abandon Cheney, they are also abandoning critical elements typically advocated by the conservative movement as a whole. American conservatism has always been marked with competing ideologies between fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and neoconservatives. Regardless of the various political ideologies, the divergent strands making up the conservative movement have always agreed on upholding the U.S. Constitution, which established a federal republic under the rule of law and maintaining the ideas of our Founding Fathers.
Cheney, who is seeking a fourth term as the lone representative from Wyoming, holds the seat once held by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. In her previous leadership position as House Republican Conference Chair, she voted in line with Donald Trump’s position 93% of the time. Despite her conservative record, the congresswoman was formally removed from her position as conference chair, is no longer recognized by the Wyoming Republican Party, censured by the Republican National Committee and has been targeted by Trump himself for defeat in this year’s primary election.
The backlash did not occur because of a lack of loyalty to conservative beliefs but from a lack of loyalty to one individual. Cheyney voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, joining nine Republican representatives and all House Democrats to impeach the former president. She called it a “vote of her conscience” against Trump’s betrayal of his office and his oath to uphold the Constitution. When House Republicans voted to remove her as conference chair, she addressed her colleagues, saying in part, “Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, but not the truth, as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all. I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.”
Reverence for the rule of law is also supported by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Republican congressman from Illinois. He also voted for the impeachment of the former president, and along with Cheney, they are the only Republican members serving on the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. For those reasons, Kinzinger is also a target for political wrath. But reverence for the rule of law is not solely a conservative principle; it is an American principle supported by Republicans and Democrats of all races. When Cheney, Kinzinger, and the Democrats voted for impeachment, it was out of patriotic duty to the nation, not politics, as some would describe.
If we as Republicans and Democrats adhere to the Founders’ ideas, then we must embrace the concerns held by George Washington regarding a president versus a king. As a founder and the very first president, Washington had the tremendous responsibility of shaping and forming the role of president for others after him to follow. Experiencing life under British rule and tyranny from King George III, Washington desired not to have the president become another version of an autocratic king. His fears are now being made manifest in how political loyalty to Trump is demanded and how that loyalty is a prerequisite for acceptance from GOP leadership and the Republican base of supporters.
Cheney insists that her sole focus is serving the people of Wyoming and protecting democracy from Trumpism. Kinzinger shares the same goal about democracy and Trumpism, which is why he has endorsed Cheney and other anti-Trumpism candidates through his Country First organization. Kinzinger’s organization is unique in that it joins Democrats, Republicans and Independents together to support candidates who are willing to publicly resist the toxic attacks on democracy.
The Republican primary is more critical than the general election against the Democrat candidate in many deep-red congressional races. With this schism within the Republican Party exposed, should registered Democrats in critical primary races just watch from the sidelines or step in? Many voters in Republican-controlled areas such as Wyoming identify with Democrats and are seriously considering switching parties to keep pro-Trumpism candidates out of office. This could prove to be an effective tactic in close races.
The idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has been applied in American foreign policy, but it is relevant in this year’s primary elections. Do Democrats step in and help pro-democracy Republicans fight to defeat pro-Trumpism Republicans by party-switching? Consider the Revolutionary War between the American colonies and Great Britain. Britain’s main adversary was not the Americans but the French. It was France coming to the military aid of the Americans that sealed Great Britain’s defeat. France’s calculated decision to help its enemy’s enemy paid off. Democrats in critical districts may need to follow France’s example when considering the real consequences.
David W. Marshall is the founder of the faith-based organization, TRB: The Reconciled Body, and author of the book God Bless Our Divided America. He can be reached at http://www.davidwmarshallauthor.com.