Crook County, Wyoming wasn’t named for Trump… but it may have well have been. Tucked into the primitive northeast corner of the state, Crook County is arguably the most backward place in America. Imagine living trekker and waking up every day knowing that fewer than a third of your neighbors have the intellectual power to have figured out that vaccination is the way to help keep them, and their families from dying from COVID. Just 32% of Crook County’s genius population is fully vaccinated, the lowest— tied with the brain surgeons in Campbell and Niobrara counties— in Wyoming, where, statewide, the vaccination rate is just 52%, the lowest anywhere in America (albeit tied with Alabama).
Crook County, as you probably guessed is 97.9% white and a third of them are of German ancestry. It’s, literally, the most right-wing county in America; the last Democratic presidential candidate to win there was FDR in 1932. The last Democratic presidential candidate to get over 40% of the vote was FDR in 1936. There are no cities and the biggest collection of people live in Sundance, the county seat, which boasts a shrinking 1,032 people.
In 2020, Trump beat Biden in Crook County— 3,651 (88.6%) to 378 (9.2%). That was the most Republican the county had ever voted. Try for a moment imagine living among these people.
When she ran for reelection in 2020, Liz Cheney did better in Crook County than anywhere else in the state— 85.3% to 8.3% for Democrat Lynnette Grey Bull. Cheney did well statewide— 185,732 (68.7%) to 66,576 (24.6%)— losing just one county, Teton, which went to Grey Bull 60.2% to 36.3%. Ironically, when Wyoming votes on 10 days, Teton County may ben one of the few places where Cheney does well.
As of the June 30 FEC deadline, Cheney had raised over $13 million and spent less than half. Her top opponent, Trumpist shill Harriet Hageman, had raised $3,850,104. Cheney has since deployed 5 timeshare in advertising than Hageman, inundating the state, including appeals to Democrats to switch parties on the 16th to vote for Cheney. Democratic Party registration has been dropping precipitously across the bluest parts of the state and Republican Party registration has been increasing. That’s because Democrats are getting ready to vote in the GOP primary. It won’t help enough to make a difference. Cheney’s loss is baked into the cake and the most recent polling shows her with a 27% job approval and predicts a Hageman win of over 20 points.
And yet, in his Wall Street Journal column last night, widely-hated author Joseph Epstein wrote that his check to Cheney’s campaign “is in the mail.” It’s the 85 year old’s first political contribution ever. I hope he feels good about his virtuous decision; it certainly isn’t going to help Cheney get a single vote more. Epstein (AKA- Aristides) was the editor of the American Scholar, the Phi Beta Kappa Sociey’s magazine, from 1975 though 1997, when he was fired. He is best known as a vicious homophobe and misogynist. The check, by the way, is for $200 and Epstein is certainly aware that Cheney is all but certain to lose. “She says she has been unable to campaign openly because of credible death threats posed, one assumes,” he wrote, “by ardent Trump supporters. The Republican Party in her home state has abandoned her. It not only endorsed Hageman but flatly refuses to recognize Ms. Cheney as a Republican.”
He also wrote that after 2 superficial encounters he found himself “won over by the Cheneys and was sorry to see [Dick] Cheney’s reputation tarnished by his role as vice president in engineering American entry into the war in Iraq, now considered misbegotten— a reputation that hasn’t recovered to this day. In any case, I was partial to Liz Cheney without having met her.”
That partiality grew into outright admiration when Rep. Cheney took the strong and ultimately self-sacrificial stand against Donald Trump’s behavior during the Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol. She didn’t have to do what she did and continues to do on the committee to investigate Jan. 6. Yet she has done it with gravity and high intelligence. Not since Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan have I encountered a political figure for whom I felt the same strong respect.
Few politicians risk losing their next election to take the high ground of just action. Ms. Cheney’s performance is all the more admirable when placed next to various Republicans— Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is vying for speaker if Republicans take the House, is a sad example— spinning, squirming, hedging their true views of Mr. Trump lest they and their party lose his support in the midterm elections. The sight is not pretty and gives good reason why politicians, and politics generally, are often held in richly deserved contempt by many Americans.
By dramatic contrast Ms. Cheney bathes not in self-righteousness but genuine righteousness, which is good for the political complexion. She claims to have taken the position she has because she felt it was “right” to do so. “The single most important thing is protecting the nation from Donald Trump,” Ms. Cheney said in an interview last month with ABC News. For her, moral rectitude comes before party. This is most impressive—and extremely rare.
As vice chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, Ms. Cheney has come across as smart, strong and authoritative. She has been asked, if she loses her seat in Congress, whether she might be interested in running for president. Unlikely as that seems, I could see her as a vice-presidential candidate on a non-Trump ticket that promises to return the Republican Party to its first principles. On such a ticket, if successful, Liz Cheney could be for women in this country all the things that Kamala Harris has thus far proved not to be.
The lowest crucial vote score of any corrupt Blue Dog in Congress is 45.57. That would be anti-Choice, pro-gun bribe-taker Henry Cuellar of South Texas. We have been advocating for several decades that he be driven out of politics for that 45.57 score. But compared to Liz Cheney’s vote score, Cuellar is practically a socialist. He lifetime crucial vote score is 3.54. And, that 3.54 has been inflated in the last year when she started voting more frequently against gratuitous Republican bullshit. But for a lifelong natural conservative asshole like Joseph Epstein, Liz Cheney is absolutely perfect. Shame about her dad’s reputation being tarnished. (And unless you want to live the rest of your life in Crook County, you can take my advise and contribute to Melanie D'Arrigo's campaign here. Any amount will help her beat the 3 conservative stooges running against her.)