By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson admires Liz Cheney.
Appearing on a radio talk show in Cody on Monday, Simpson said the Wyoming congresswoman’s vote to impeach President Trump “took guts” and said he didn’t think her actions will impede her chances of being re-elected.
“She will prevail,” Simpson told talk show host Darian Dudrick. “Because I think the American people and Wyoming people admire guts and courage.”
Simpson said Cheney has plenty of supporters and they will be visible during the election season.
“She’ll go into town and her people will show up instead of just the ragged bunch of haters,” Simpson said. “And they’ll say ‘We like this woman.’”
Simpson said he saw those “haters” at the Park County Republican meeting where Cheney was censured and added the display of “pure hatred” marked a difference between now and when he was an elected official.
“This is the thing that I never saw in politics of my time. You might have disliked (Ted) Kennedy but you didn’t really hate him. What I saw in that room that night was pure hatred toward Liz Cheney,” he said.
“And I’m not talking about disgust or disappointment. I’m talking about pure, pure hate. The kind of hate the devil might create,” Simpson said.
At the heart of her detractors’ hatred, he said, is her she challenge of former President Trump or, as Simpson called him, “their idol” and “their Messiah.”
Despite Trump’s targeting of Cheney, such as during his first speech after losing the election where he made it clear that Cheney was top of his hit list, Simpson — using his ever colorful language — scoffed at the suggestion that Cheney could be defeated in 2022.
“If people think she’s going to get cremated in the next election, they’ve got a bum steer,” he said. “Liz Cheney will be highly regarded and highly respected in this state when she runs for re-election, I can promise you that.”
What about legislation before the Wyoming State Legislature and endorsed by Donald Trump, Jr. which would change the state’s election laws to a runoff system if no candidate had more than 50% of the vote? Opponents of Cheney, including the former president’s son, say they believe this system would be more generous to a challenger.
Simpson wasn’t optimistic about its passage.
“I don’t know where that bill is going,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going anywhere and if they did, the governor would probably veto it.”
As it is currently amended, a runoff system wouldn’t begin until after the 2022 election as county clerks have said there’s not enough time to implement changes.
This can be amended, of course, and some speculate that’s why the bill was laid back for a day, so supporters could make changes to make the legislation more amenable to those who have to carry out the elections.
While Simpson didn’t criticize the runoff legislation, he did suggest that some legislators should focus on more meaningful legislation.
“They’re obsessed with guns, QAnon, abortion, taxes, or gays and lesbians,” he said. “Rome is burning. What are they going to do about the tax structure?”
He said because many legislators took a vow to vote against any tax increase, they’re limited as to what they can do.
“Hang on tight, because they’re going to do some serious things to health care, senior care and to teachers and to education,” he said.