Trump’s Name is Not on the Ballot, but His Thumbprint Is

Evan El-Amin/

If you didn’t know, another important round of Congressional and state-level primaries occurs on Tuesday. Among those running are big names such as Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Sarah Palin from Alaska.

But the news coming from these elections and their results likely won’t have much to do with either of the women mentioned above. Instead, they will have everything to do with former President Donald Trump; they may even shed a bit of light on where his future is headed.

Take Liz Cheney, for instance.

Once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party and one who might take the House Speaker position, as well as the Presidency one day, her opinion of Trump and the actions she has taken as a result may have signed her career’s death sentence. Now, of course, she may still choose to run for future offices, including that of the White House, as some presume she will in 2024, but it doesn’t mean she will win.

The daughter of former Vice President Richard (Dick) B. Cheney had incredible name cred and power even before she began most of her political career, mostly due to her familial ties. But now, it would seem that the only thing that matters is her incredible dislike for the 45th US president.

She is shown as the loser in nearly every single poll available at the moment. Her opponent, state legislator Harriet Hageman, leads by as much as 30 points, including in a University of Wyoming poll published on August 12.

The difference is that Hageman is not only a Trump fan, but he is a fan of her. He even traveled to the Northwestern state to campaign for her.

Or was it a move to directly oppose one of the ten House Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach Trump back in January of 2021? Just like he promised, he’s made sure to choose strong candidates to challenge those alleged traitors and do everything within his power to ensure their time in Congress is up, at least for now.

So far, of those ten, three have lost their primaries, and four did not seek re-election, leaving only two besides Cheney who managed to survive.

And as the polls suggest, it’s unlikely she will either.

Then again, she knew that going in, or at least she says she did. Of course, such a loss may motivate her to take up a new challenge to ensure that Trump does not make it back to the White House come 2024.

As for former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, she isn’t exactly expected to win either. But that isn’t because she hasn’t had Trump’s support. Instead, if she loses, it will likely be due to a less-than-common voting system.

Like Maine and New York City, Alaska uses a new ‘ranked-choice’ voting system. This means that rather than voters just choosing one name on the ballot separated by party, they rank their choices in order of preference with all candidates regardless of party on the same list. If no candidate receives over 50 percent when counted, the two with the most first-place votes enter an “instant runoff,” determined by their second-place votes.

This means that even if a candidate has more first-place votes, the tally of the second vote could see them lose.

And for someone like Sarah Palin, that could mean defeat.

Palin will be opposed by two others, one a Democrat and one a fellow Republican. The Republican is Nick Begich III, the grandson of a Democrat who used to hold that very seat before the late Representative Don Young, the longest serving GOP member in history.

While Palin has Trump’s endorsement and is definitely more well known than either contender, thanks to this type of voting system, it may not matter. According to a poll by Alaska Survey Research, about 60 percent of Alaskans view Palin unfavorably.

This means while she technically may have a higher percentage in a first-place count, a second-place count could see her with far fewer votes than either of her opponents. Basically, if some best like her, it may not be enough to combat the many who like her least.

Of course, this isn’t exactly good news for Trump, who thinks the Alaska voting system is “crap.” But as long as he can oust Cheney in Wyoming, he may be satisfied.

Then again, given the recent raid on his home, voters who may not have cared so much about his opinion may depend on it more.