Liz Cheney talks on the state of U.S. democracy


Kaden Moubayed

In the midst of the Nov. 8 elections, Rep. Liz Cheney spoke at campus last week discussing the future of the United States.

Chloe Alexander, Assistant Editor

Just days after the midterm election, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, spoke at Mandel Hall on Nov. 11, where she discussed the rise of misinformation, Jan. 6 aftermath and the hope she has for the future of United States democracy. 

The talk, organized by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, came against the backdrop of the midterm election and the ongoing Jan. 6 Committee subpoenas, including of former President Donald Trump. 

Rep. Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, said that after the events on Jan. 6, 2021, people, more specifically Republicans, cannot excuse the insurrection that occurred. She believes her party needs to have a stiffer spine that does not tolerate lies about the results of elections. 

“I also think though as a party, we need to be clear that we should not be embracing [Trump] even if he was a winner because what he’s doing and what he advocates is so dangerous,” Rep. Cheney said. “I think elected officials need to understand that words matter.” 

Rep. Cheney disclosed that committee members are working on a summary report of the Jan. 6 hearings in hopes of informing people about the causes and events of the insurrection and additionally to stop the spread of misinformation. 

Rep. Cheney said, “We’ll talk about things like the security failure leg, the extent to which there was clearly an intelligence failure. But as a committee, we will not blame law enforcement for Trump’s armed mob that he sent to the Capitol to try to stop the electoral account.”

Rep. Cheney ran for re-election but lost the primary election on Aug. 16 and will not return to Congress in January.

This event was open to the University of Chicago community, including U-High students. Cassia Collins, a U-High junior, attended the event because she appreciates Rep. Cheney for standing up for truth.

“She stood up for something that we don’t stand for, an insurrection, and she lost her seat for it,” Cassia said. “I respected her as a person for that, and I wanted to see her speak.”

Katherine Baicker, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, asked Rep. Cheney how news media changes by region which leads people to experience very different realities based on where they live. 

Rep. Cheney said, “I think that it certainly is true that we end up in silos and we only get information from people that agree with us. It’s also certainly true that our adversaries are attempting to sow division and discord.” 

She also said that social media should be regulated and the social media algorithms need to be held responsible for the misinformation and dangerous sites they lead people to. Although there are many concerns with the United States, Rep. Cheney is optimistic about what’s to come with the country’s democracy. 

The audience question period included three University of Chicago students wearing gray suits who each listed a long series of facts before posing a question designed to make their own point. According to U-High history teacher Cindy Jurisson and other UChicago students in the audience, UChicago students from conservative campus organizations have been doing this at different political events. 

Rep. Cheney believes that the midterm election results, while not yet finalized, could be a win for the nonextremists.

“It was a really important and incredibly hopeful outcome for democracy,” Rep. Cheney said. “I think we have a long way to go, and we have a threat we’ve never had before, a former president that tried to overturn an election and prevent a peaceful transfer of power. We have a lot to do, but I really think that the outcome this week was certainly a step in the right direction, a very important step.”