Days of Change

Tip of the Spear | July 31, 2017

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake was not a big fan of Donald Trump from the beginning. Even though he just wrote his version of “The Conscience of a Conservative,” named after the original statement of principles written by Barry Goldwater, Flake was pondering more than his conscience. The Senator is facing a tough reelection next year and he was either going to have to play to the Trump base or run as the anti-Trump. That choice is now clear.

Kelli Ward, an Arizona state senator, is again going for the brass ring of a Senate seat. Even though she publicly suggested that John McCain should step down and she be appointed to the Senate, Ward is actually gunning for Jeff Flake in the GOP primary. She is a full-on Trumper and the president is pretty obviously in her camp. It would be almost impossible for Flake to run to the right of Ward and he has instead decided to take the mantle of “traditional” conservative who believes in ideas, not fighting and signing things just to see his signature.

While Senators Murkowski and Collins are tacitly opposing the Trump steamroller, neither are up for reelection next year. For good or ill, Flake is the tip of the spear. He is ideologically opposed to Trump, even if he votes for Trump-friendly legislation. Trumpers want his head on a platter in the primary next year. Democrats are unimpressed by Flake, even if they have no alternative in their party at the moment. The good news for Trump is that only 7 other GOP Senators have to make a similar decision.

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