Worse is the lukewarm response from Republicans who know better.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) remains the shining exception proving the rule of Republican cowardice. In addition to calling out her party’s “Putin wing” and Fox News for spreading Russian propaganda (disclosure: I’m an MSNBC contributor), she knocked down Arizona’s Republican candidates during a performance at Arizona State University on Wednesday. organized by the McCain Institute.
“You have a candidate for governor in Kari Lake, you have a candidate for secretary of state in Mark Finchem, both of whom have said … that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree,” Cheney said. She warned: “The country is on the brink of an abyss. If we don’t reject this reconciliation of anti-democratic forces, we’re going over the edge.”
She continued: ‘They’ve looked at all that – the law, the facts and the rulings, the courts – and they’ve said they don’t care. And if you care about democracy and about the survival of our republic, then you have to understand, we all have to understand, that we cannot give power to people who have told us they will not hold elections.”
Cheney even stated that she would vote for Katie Hobbs, the Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona, or Adrian Fontes, the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State. “I’ve been voting Republican for almost 40 years. I don’t know if I ever voted for a Democrat,” she said. “But if I lived in Arizona right now, I would absolutely become governor and secretary of state.” (You wonder how she’s staying in a party that puts nearly 300 election deniers to the polls, but maybe she’s hoping she can help cut the number that will win.)
For the record, she also denounced Republicans who came to Arizona to campaign for election deniers. “[Virginia Gov.] Glenn Youngkin should not come here to campaign for Kari Lake.” She also accused Senator Ted Cruz (Tex.), who “absolutely knows that what he is advocating is unconstitutional.” She added, “there must be consequences.”
Will Cheney travel across the country to challenge other deniers in her party? Maybe, but even if she did, there are too many for one person. And that begs another question: Where are her father’s old allies hiding? Former President George W. Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former GOP governors in key states (e.g. John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Snyder and John Engler in Michigan), and other former Republican senators and members of the House have not queued up to support Cheney and call out deniers.
It’s unfathomable that former officials who can no longer suffer political harm should be silent in the face of the debacle for democracy that Cheney is throwing. All they have to do is say, “I agree with Cheney. Don’t vote for any of these people.” Really, is simple honesty and patriotism so hard?