Although there are still the midterm elections to be concerned with in the meantime, the 2020 U.S. presidential election field continues to take shape. The perpetual harbinger of dramatic and substance-lacking outrage Jeff Flake has now offered his thoughts on the developing situation, suggesting that someone should run against President Donald Trump in the Republican primary ahead of that election.
He told C-SPAN:
‘I do hope that somebody does run in the primary against the president. I think the Republicans need to be reminded of what conservatism really is and what it means to be decent, and we haven’t had that kind of politics lately.’
Whether that “someone” will turn out to be Flake, who’s retiring from his Arizona seat in the U.S. Senate at the end of his present term, remains to be seen. In fact, whether anyone with the ability to launch a formative campaign runs against Trump in the GOP primary ahead of the 2020 election remains to be seen.
Flake has established himself in the meantime as someone willing to take on Trump in rhetoric but unwilling to go many steps beyond that at times. For instance, although he decried the process surrounding Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and pushed for a renewed FBI investigation into the judge’s background after credible sexual assault allegations surfaced, he ended up voting for Kavanaugh anyway. Considering the circumstances, it’s highly unlikely that Flake did so completely confident that the judge was innocent of the allegations against him. The investigation was limited in scope, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed to the U.S. Senate.
Still, through it all, Flake maintains that the Republican Party has lost a core sense of decency — or something.
‘I think we as a Republican Party certainly have got to get back to a kind of decency that has characterized the party for a while.’
Despite his lip service to optimism, even Flake acknowledges the fact that much of the core of the Republican Party at present is well represented by Donald Trump, repugnance and all.
‘When you see [Trump] at a rally, the disturbing thing isn’t so much what he says anymore, it’s the cheers from people behind him and the chants of ‘lock her up’ for example, that’s just unseemly, and it does make me fear that it’s going to be a longer process to get out of this than it should be. But we will, we have to. Anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.’
Yet, there is no mass break with Trump among GOP leaders. After a now long past halfhearted opposition to Trump, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) eventually got behind the now president full force, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains right there too. He’s helped push through the president’s key initiatives, including stacking the nation’s judiciary with judges who rule in the president’s favor (like Kavanaugh) and (trying) to overturn the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, which provides health coverage to millions of Americans.
The GOP will likely pay dearly for all of this soon, with the party poised to lose the U.S. House and maybe the U.S. Senate too in the midterms.
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