For the good of the nation
Last Tuesday, former Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney tweeted this in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's claim that the criminal indictments of Trump are politically motivated:
"Putin has now officially endorsed the Putin-wing of the Republican Party. Putin Republicans & their enablers will end up on the ash heap of history. Patriotic Americans in both parties who believe in the values of liberal democracy will make sure of it."
In reality, the Putin wing of the Republican Party has taken over the Republican Party. The GOP no longer believes in the values of liberal democracy. It has become a cesspool of authoritarian nihilism.
As Mitt Romney told the Atlantic's McKayu Coppins, "a very large portion of my party really doesn't believe in the Constitution."
The GOP is now a rogue elephant — increasingly dangerous, out of control, and on a rampage.
Knowing that most of the American public rejects it, it's busily repressing votes through extreme partisan gerrymandering and new barriers to voting.
Notwithstanding zero evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden, it's seeking to impeach him.
Even though there's still no basis for Trump's big lie that he won the 2020 election, most Republican lawmakers continue to support it.
A growing number of House and Senate Republicans are questioning America's commitment to defending Ukraine.
House Republicans are about renege on the deal they made before the debt ceiling was lifted, and shutter the U.S. government.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans are threatening to impeach a State Supreme Court justice who disagrees with their agenda. Tennessee Republicans have expelled Democratic lawmakers who supported an anti-gun protest.
Alabama Republicans are denying Black voters the opportunity to elect another representative to Congress. Florida Republicans have suspended an elected official because they don't like their policies.
The GOP engaged in authoritarian antics before Trump (see: Gingrich, Newt), but Trump has pushed the Party over the edge, morally and politically.
Trump has so profoundly poisoned the Republican Party — filling it with election deniers, bigots, paranoids, and anti-democracy zealots — that it won't recover its capacity to govern even after Trump leaves the stage.
Frankly, I don't give a fig about the Republican Party. But I do care deeply about this nation. And America needs two major political parties capable of governing. Right now, only the Democratic Party has that capacity.
As long as the Trump Republican Party exists, it poses a profound danger to American democracy.
What should be done, and who should do it?
America needs a third party that stands for all the things conservative Republicans stood for before Gingrich and Trump — limited government, fiscal prudence, a strong defense against dictators and autocrats, and the stability and integrity of the nation's major institutions.
Is Mitt Romney the person to start such a Real Republican Party? He's now basking in the adulation of the Washington establishment because he had the courage to utter some truths about Trump when the former president was in power and just announced he won't be running again.
But Romney is too elitist and too, well, 2012.
The person to lead it is Liz Cheney. She should run for president on a third-party Real Republican ticket.
I'm sure there are plenty of anti-Trump Republicans willing to support this effort. Some of them, I expect, have enough money to get the Real Republican Party on the ballot in most states. There's still time.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not endorsing Liz Cheney for president. I've disagreed with too many of her policy ideas and votes over the years.
I'm merely suggesting that it would be good for all of us if she took the reins of a new Republican Party — good for Republicans, good for Democrats, good for democracy, good for America.
When it comes to the survival of American democracy, Liz Cheney has displayed more courage and integrity than any other member of her party.
Six days after the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — when no other Republican in the House or Senate was willing to rebuke Trump — Cheney charged on the House floor that "the president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing."
The next day, Cheney joined just nine other House Republicans and 222 Democrats in voting to impeach Trump. (Few, if any, of these principled Republicans remain in the House today. Most have resigned or been purged.)
Then, as vice chair of the House of Representatives' January 6 committee investigating the causes of the January 6 attack, Cheney ceaselessly and tirelessly helped lay out the case against Trump.
To get revenge, Trump did everything possible to end Cheney's career. He selected Cheney's opponent in the 2022 Wyoming Republican primary, Harriet Hageman — who rallied behind Trump and amplified his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen — and made sure Hageman won.
I think it would be a fitting rebuke to Trump — as fitting politically as his criminal convictions will be legally — to have Liz Cheney create a new Real Republican Party that replaces the squalor of Trump's (and Putin's) GOP.
What do you think?
Q. What is the difference between a law-abiding gun owner and a criminal?
A. The .2 of a second that it takes to pull a trigger.