Liz Cheney, who sounds and looks increasingly like Hillary Clinton, has effectively consigned the 70 percent of Wyoming citizens who voted for Donald Trump two years ago to the category of “deplorables.” Less than a week out from the open Republican primary, she was reported by the New York Times to be reconciled to losing her bid for a fourth term as Wyoming’s sole congressional representative. As Emerson said on learning that Margaret Fuller, the American journalist and Transcendentalist, had decided to accept the universe, “She’d better.”

Still, La Cheney continues to fight hard for something;...

Liz Cheney, who sounds and looks increasingly like Hillary Clinton, has effectively consigned the 70 percent of Wyoming citizens who voted for Donald Trump two years ago to the category of “deplorables.” Less than a week out from the open Republican primary, she was reported by the New York Times to be reconciled to losing her bid for a fourth term as Wyoming’s sole congressional representative. As Emerson said on learning that Margaret Fuller, the American journalist and Transcendentalist, had decided to accept the universe, “She’d better.”

Still, La Cheney continues to fight hard for something; the question is what. Her campaign recently released an ad featuring her father, the former vice president and secretary of war (both Cheneys believe in getting in ahead of Defense), glowering from beneath the brim of his Stetson as he denounced Donald Trump as a coward and the greatest threat to the American Republic in 246 years. Cheney Sr. then praised his daughter for standing up to man more monstrous than Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Putin, Xi and Pat Buchanan. A woman like that should be auditioning for a role on Game of Thrones, not the privilege of representing 97, 914 miles of sagebrush, alkali, granite and ice inhabited by 581,853 pedigreed descendants of Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

But Liz Cheney is cannier than she appears. She would find it “very difficult,” she announced the other day, to support Governor DeSantis of Florida because he is too close in his thinking to Trump. (DeSantis has not taken a position on Cheney’s and Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 Committee, nor on President Trump’s behavior that day.) In fact, Liz Cheney’s problem with the GOP runs much deeper than Trump himself. The party, she went on to explain, is “very sick” and may need “several [more] cycles” to heal itself. Cheney, then, is not running primarily to get herself reelected in Wyoming. She is running to save the Republican Party, and after that…well, should destiny call, the party pooh-bahs know where to find her. (Not in Wyoming, of course.)

The question is: what does she see herself saving the GOP for? The old establishment party as it existed before Trump? Or something new, beyond Trump and his imitators and the Cheney-Bush establishment?

As Winnie-the-Pooh was a Bear of Very Little Brain, Liz Cheney is a Woman of Very Little Imagination. Just as she could never see the potential and possibilities of Donald Trump and Trumpism, so when she looks ahead to the Republican Party of the future can she see only the party of the past redux, her father’s GOP. That party — it is clear to almost everyone except the Cheneys — is as dead as Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party. Most of its luminaries are in retirement or defunct. Something new is here already, and the question is simply whether Trump or someone in the Trumpist mold will lead and staff it. The fact that Cheney cannot recognize this shows how unsuited she is for public office in America today.

Headed into the last week before the primary, the bipartisan establishment, which really exists only in narrow and pressing circumstances like these, is making a last-ditch effort to get behind Liz and shove her across the finish line. But it is far too little, far too late. Cheney is positively loathed in this state, not only by the vast majority of Republicans but by a great many Democrats, including the three candidates currently vying for the Democratic nomination, one of whom criticized her the other day for having been too supportive of Trump while he was in office. On the other hand, the most conservative of them is angry over her support of Nancy Pelosi’s extreme partisanship in putting the January 6 Committee together. Beyond that, the general consensus here seems to be that there are simply too few Democrats in Wyoming for potential crossover votes to make any difference on August 16.

Two groups have appeared suddenly, hoping to stop Harriet Hageman, Cheney’s primary opponent, and throw the election to Cheney. One is Wyomingites Defending Freedom and Democracy, which is urging Democrats to change their party registration. The other is Conservatives for a Strong America, which views Hageman as a Johnny-come-lately and a flip-flopper on her support for Donald Trump. But why, in the present situation, any Trump Republican would care what position Hageman took on Donald Trump five and six years ago is impossible to fathom.

There is one other political interest, however, that Liz Cheney is fighting for. It’s the Democratic one that wishes to ensure Trump’s political ruination and humiliation while securing their own, very personal revenge against the Ogre from Mar-a-Lago. These are the liberals from all over the country — California mostly — whose contributions to her campaign exceed by far the donations from citizens of Wyoming, 99.9 percent of whom have infinitely less to spend than they do.

The website Axios refers to “the former president’s revenge campaign” against Cheney (“Scoop: Republicans’ last-minute Cheney lifeline”). But Liz Cheney would be skin and bones on the open range today whether Donald Trump went after her or not. The revenge taken in the primary will be not be Trump’s but ours. It will be sweet.