I’ve had a visceral dislike for the Cheneys since the 1980s. My grandfather—the late, great communist Howard Fast—never had kind things to say about Dick Cheney and his sins. But if Representative Liz Cheney ends Trump’s political career, I will have to reconsider my feelings about the family. In the first January 6 hearing in early June, Cheney handcuffed herself to Trump and jumped into the sea, in the hopes of drowning his political career at the risk of her own. Until Cheney, there was no powerful Republican willing to take such a gamble. Mike Pence was too cowardly, Kevin McCarthy too stupid, and Mitch McConnell too evil. Scion of a famous far-right family, the former third-ranking House Republican, and ideologically allied with Trump—she supported his agenda as president 92.9 percent of the time, except when she voted to impeach him—Cheney is just powerful enough to make her sacrifice matter. Cheney was almost Trump’s ideological twin.

If you want proof of Cheney’s impact, pick up a copy of one of last weekend’s editions of newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. In a harsh critique, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called Trump “The President Who Stood Still.” “As a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again,” the New York Post opined. Murdoch has apparently decided that Trump’s brand of gold-plated authoritarianism is no longer useful to him.

To read the rest, subscribe to The Atlantic.

Already a subscriber? Sign in