So alarmed is he, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is considering a presidential run against President Donald Trump. He says he will run either as a Republican or an Independent.
Flake, a long time Trump critic, says someone needs to stop the President.
Speaking in New Hampshire on Friday, which is expected to host the first presidential primary election for 2020, Sen. Flake said he hadn’t planned on running but he hasn’t ruled it out because someone needs to stop Trump. “It has not been in my plans to run for president, but I have not ruled it out.”
Flake said, “Young people have been walking away from the party for a while. I think now they’re in a dead sprint. I think they expect a more decent politics than they’re seeing and they expect Washington to work a little more than it is. So I think it behooves us all to take note of what’s going on in Parkland and elsewhere.”
Watch here via ABC News:
Sen. Flake says "it behooves us all to take note of what's going on in Parkland and elsewhere."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 16, 2018
What does Flake mean, though, when he says someone needs to stand up to Trump? Does he mean policy wise or simply to take a stand against his ill fit temperament and obvious issues with reality?
Flake gives a hint of his real objection to Trump by saying Republicans need to be reminded of what it means to be a traditional, decent Republican, “I hope that that someone does run in the Republican primary, somebody to challenge the president. I think that the Republicans want to be reminded what it means to be a traditional, decent Republican.”
Flake sees an opening for himself or another challenger even running as an Independent. Such a challenge would be welcome by many Americans, no doubt. But what does it mean to be a “decent” Republican these days? Flake has supported 85% of Trump’s agenda, including repealing Obamacare and the Republican tax cuts that will benefit the rich far more than the middle class or poor in the long run.
Even though we desperately need at least two healthy political parties and we are eager to see change in the Republican Party that moves toward decency, it would be the continuation of the enabling that got the GOP here to pretend the policies Flake himself as supported are traditional Republican policies.
Gone is the party of fiscal responsibility, for example. Once again, Republicans were so desperate to appease their wealthy donors that they put everything on the line to give them a tax benefit- one that most helps the wealthiest 1% – yet another tax cut on daddy’s credit card – a tax cut they can’t pay for.
Republicans did not go to the mat for decent gun control, or to find a solution for Puerto Rico, or to find a solution for immigration or healthcare. They went to the mat for the rich.
Flake notes the young people fleeing, citing Parkland. But up in the North, there is also the fleeing of the Republican voter who cares about their healthcare first. Those people can’t be tricked into hating Pelosi more than they want to live.
Republicans have in Trump met the result of their complicit erosion of values. Trump is no traditionalist. Trump is no family values person. Trump and fiscal responsibility are not even aware of one another.
What does it mean to be a decent Republican these days? Jeff Flake’s willingness to take a rhetorical stand against Donald Trump’s crude, vulgar attack on every norm we rely upon to hold our democracy together is commendable. But it is surface talk.
Republicans have long needed to have an internal reckoning, but instead they keep following the latest easy power grab and falling further and further into the gutter, taking their country with them to this point- the point where they refuse to protect their own country during an ongoing act of war by a hostile foreign power because they are so willing to blindly follow Trump.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.