Cheney: I’m coming for all the election deniers

Source: Hot Air

Stacey Abrams too?

If I were Cheney I’d throw Brian Kemp a few bucks in this November’s race in Georgia, just to prove that the cause of punishing election truthers isn’t a strictly partisan one. Even if only one of the two major parties has become an autocratic personality cult led by an election denier who tried to stage a coup.

She’s launching a new Super PAC, The Great Task, which will be funded initially by the big bucks she raised for her failed reelection bid. That PAC could turn out to have surprising financial heft since Cheney has made many friends in the Democratic donor class thanks to her anti-Trump crusade and already had plenty of friends in the Republican donor class by dint of her family pedigree. A pro-democracy group led by a well-known politician who sacrificed her own career for the cause will be an attractive receptacle for Americans who want to increase the political cost of crankery.

I just hope she realizes that this means she’s going to be funding mostly — maybe entirely — Democratic candidates.

When I say she’s going to be funding Democratic candidates, I don’t mean that there are zero Republicans in Washington who are willing to say publicly that Biden won the election. There are some! I … think? Anyway, what I mean is that having the backing of Cheney’s group in a GOP primary would be more of a liability in most red-leaning districts than an asset. If you’re a centrist Republican running for a House seat somewhere and you’re on record as saying the election wasn’t rigged, you wouldn’t want to advertise that fact. Having Cheney’s PAC breeze into your race and drop, say, $100K on ads for you would most inadvertently advertise it. And local Republican voters wouldn’t react well.

Cheney has become such a hate object for MAGAs because of her insistence on holding their leader accountable that her endorsement may carry an unusual amount of weight among Republicans. If Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley endorsed a candidate in your local GOP primary, would you care? Would you even notice? If Liz Cheney endorsed a candidate, you’d notice. If you’re like most GOP voters, you’d think, “I need to be sure not to vote for that person.”

Speaking of which:

Cruz and Hawley would doubtless be thrilled to have her on the other side in their next primaries in Texas and Missouri, respectively, as they would capitalize on the resulting anti-Cheney backlash. Where Cheney’s money could matter is in general elections since Democratic candidates will eagerly accept her help. Especially if her endorsement ends up convincing a few local Never Trumpers to cross the aisle and vote for Team Blue.

In fact, although I doubt she’d frame it this way, the not-so-secret purpose of The Great Task will be to persuade Republicans who dislike the party’s authoritarian drift to start voting Democratic, at least until the GOP base concludes that authoritarianism is a loser at the polls and gives up on it. There are a few out there who are willing, although maybe only a few:

The AP has a story out today about a guy who recently up and quit his job running elections in Gillespie County, a rural red part of Texas west of Austin. His deputy also quit, leaving Gillespie with zero election staff less than three months before the midterms. What led the election staffers to bug out? Simple — they were tired of being harassed by pro-Trump election truthers. In a state Trump … won by five points. And a county he won by … 59 points.

Hamilton, who has clashed with poll watchers in Gillespie County in past elections, said he didn’t want to go through it again.

“That’s the one thing we can’t understand. Their candidate won, heavily,” Hamilton said. “But there’s fraud here?”

Hamilton worked under Anissa Herrera, the former county elections administrator whose resignation was first reported by the Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post. “I was threatened, I’ve been stalked, I’ve been called out on social media,” she told the outlet. “And it’s just dangerous misinformation.”…

A survey released in March by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law found that one in three election officials knows someone who has left a job in part because of threats and intimidation, and that one in six had experienced threats personally.

Eventually enough Republicans may tire of the culture of intimidation created by election denialism to make it a losing proposition among GOP candidates. “The Constitution is hanging by a thread,” said Rusty Bowers, the house rep who recently lost his bid for state senate after refusing to try to overturn Arizona’s election in 2020, to the Guardian this week. “The funny thing is, I always thought it would be the other guys. And it’s my side. That just rips at my heart: that we would be the people who would surrender the Constitution in order to win an election. That just blows my mind.” Me too. Although the fact that it doesn’t rip at the hearts of most GOP voters is the part that rips at my own heart the most.

Cheney is betting that the number of Republican voters out there who feel the way she and Bowers do will be sufficient to tilt elections towards pro-democracy candidates and against election deniers on “better the Democrat than the autocrat” grounds. I admire her optimism. I do not share it.

By the way, an interesting detail from NBC’s new poll:

I saw some lefties and Never Trumpers high-fiving over that result on Twitter yesterday, treating it as proof that Cheney’s January 6 crusade really has made a difference. I’d bet decent money, though, that *at least* as many Republicans as Democrats say that “threats to democracy” is a top issue for them — not because they’re worried about election deniers but because they’re election deniers themselves and worry that we now have a fraudulent president in the White House. The NBC data is cause for greater concern, not less.

I’ll leave you with this. My suspicion that she’ll end up in the administration somewhere next year as a “pro-democracy advisor” is stronger than ever.