Jeff Flake does not want President Trump to win in 2020. In fact, the former Republican Senator from Arizona and staunch Never Trumper is more than willing to cede the presidency to a Democrat next year.
Flake’s comments came during a debate in New York hosted by the nonprofit Intelligence Squared. Moderator John Donovan asked Flake if he would be willing to “lose a cycle for the Republican party because of the principles that you’re arguing?”
Flake responded, “Oh yes, yes.” He then went on to state that, while the policies President Trump championed were supported by Trump’s base, they would ultimately end up hurting the Republican party.
“It can galvanize people for a while, maybe for a cycle or two. But in the end, it turns people off. It turns off minorities. It turns off women,” said Flake.
I’m going to be completely honest: I’ve long since passed the point of caring what Jeff Flake thinks. His constant lectures on the uncouth President Trump and incessant sermonizing are beyond tiresome. Quite frankly, I ceased to care about Jeff Flake’s opinion of President Trump the moment he retired from the Senate.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. President Trump’s approval rating among Republicans has exceeded 90% at various points in his presidency. We can quibble about whether Republicans’ love of President Trump is because of or in spite of Trump’s boorish nature. The fact of the matter is the Republican party as a whole is solidly behind Trump.
The only people who care about anything Jeff Flake has to say are the fake news peddlers at CNN, and the wonks of Intelligence Squared.
Why then should I devote any space to Jeff Flake’s salty ramblings? What’s the point of wasting any skull sweat parsing out the meaning behind Jeff Flake’s latest Never Trump fever dream?
Because Jeff Flake still matters.
Let’s not forget what Jeff Flake represents. Flake is part of the Old Guard of the Republican party. He’s cut from the same cloth as men like John McCain, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and the entire Bush clan.
Jeff Flake is the living embodiment of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism.” he is a man who believes that reaching across the aisle is the highest virtue that one should aspire to. What does Jeff Flake do when faced with the ire and raw hatred that has overwhelmed the Democrat party? He turns the other cheek. In Flake’s world fighting back in service of conservative values is Not Who We Are.
In other words, Jeff Flake represents the ideals that have led to numerous humiliating defeats for the Republican party over the last several decades. These are the same ideals that gave the country eight years of Obama, and very nearly four years of Crooked Hillary.
Flake and others like him can serve as a useful reminder of the folly of the pre-Trump era. The Republican party hasn’t completely embraced Trumpism just yet. Mitt Romney being Utah’s junior Senator can attest to that.
Calling out Jeff Flake’s stupidity serves as a reminder to everyone of the failures of the pre-Trump philosophy. Perhaps it can prevent us from making the same mistakes again.