On the Fourth of July in Lander,Wyoming, Liz Cheney was walking with a gaggle of campaign volunteers alongside a parade float handing out little frisbees with “Cheney for Wyoming” stamped on them to anyone who was interested. She gave me a frisbee, shook my hand, and I snatched a quick photo.
If anyone would have told me when I awoke that morning that Liz Cheney would be personally handing me a frisbee I wouldn’t have believed them. She was dressed like she had just arrived from a cattle drive after shoveling manure all day and tending the ranch (for a second I didn’t recognize her).
She is running for the sole House seat in Wyoming, the same one once inhabited by her father, the infamous Dick Cheney. Liz Cheney threw her cowboy hat into the ring following the decision by the incumbent Republican Representative Cynthia Lummis not to seek re-election. Cheney joins a crowded Republican field that includes eight other GOP candidates, which will be decided on August 16th when the primary elections are held. (There are also two hapless Democrats, a Libertarian, and a Constitution Party candidate competing for the job.)
I was visiting Lander (population 7,200) where I watched the big parade on the Fourth of July, which is a tradition among my wife’s family. Most of my in-laws are dyed-in-the-wool right-wing Christian fundamentalists (a couple of the older ones are George McGovern “prairie” Democrats).
I asked my Wyoming kinfolk what they thought about Liz Cheney. And learned in no uncertain terms that they don’t like her one bit. Their animosity stems mainly from the fact that she hasn’t really lived in Wyoming for years, choosing instead the bustling cosmopolitan outside world of Washington, D.C. or Virginia over the wind-swept freezing isolation of their home state. They resent her thinking she can ride into town and snap up their only House seat after being absent out there living the good life.
As for Donald J. Trump, all of the Wyomingians I talked to — staunch Republican gun-owning white Christian right-wingers all — absolutely despise him. They told me his candidacy makes them ashamed to be Republicans.
All of the Republicans I spoke with are either not voting at all or plan to vote for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, over Trump. They’re dismayed the party to which they’ve been so loyal for so long has nominated a womanizing immoral (possibly abortion loving) flimflam artist. I was encouraged by the response because if Trump can’t win with these kind of core supporters of his party then he’s in big trouble.