Republican Senator Jeff Flake, in character – willing to criticize President Trump, as always – argued in an interview broadcast earlier today that a Republican must run against Trump in 2020, in order to “remind Republicans what it means to be conservative,” the Hill reports.
Apart from reminding America what it means to be a conservative, the hypothetical Republican candidate in the upcoming 2020 presidential election will also need to remind the country “what it means to be decent.” For Flake, verbally assaulting President Trump is nothing new – the senator has, essentially, made a name for himself doing just that – but Flake rarely, if ever, backs his words up with actions.
A FiveThirtyEight updating tally which tracks how members of the two chambers of the United States Congress vote in relation to Donald Trump demonstrate that Flake has voted in line with President Trump’s position nearly every single time. Flake has, according to the tally, voted in line with Trump 86 percent of the time.
For the senior United States Senator from Arizona, it is indeed decency that appears to be the primary concern in the Trump era, and not the administration’s policies which actually impact the daily lives of American citizens. While slamming the alleged lack of decency in the Grand Old Party, Flake made no mention of his voting record and added once more that a Republican “needs” to challenge Trump in 2020.
"I don't think that will be me,” Sen. Jeff Flake says when asked whether he will challenge President Trump in 2020. “I’ve said all along that somebody needs to run on the Republican side, if nothing else to remind Republicans what it means to be conservative.” pic.twitter.com/6HfDBNctlh
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 18, 2018
This burden of being a “decent” Republican candidate in 2020 will have to be carried by someone else, according to Flake who said, “I think the future of the party is with people with an optimistic vision moving ahead. I don’t think that will be me. I think there are better candidates out there. But somebody needs to run.” Although apparently not willing to go against Trump in 2020, the Arizona senator said that he would “love” to see Ohio Governor John Kasich or Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse run against the POTUS.
According to Jeff Flake – who votes with Trump on virtually all issues while advertising himself as a staunch Trump critic – the Republican Party needs to embrace decency once again, and get rid of “politics of grievance and anger and resentment.”
“This politics of grievance and anger and resentment, you know, you can whip up the base for a cycle or two but it wears thin,” he said, adding that Trump’s hypothetical 2020 opponent “cannot run as someone who is just tied at the hip with the president,” since voters are “rejecting” such candidates.
Flake appears to be wrong about this as well. Many have suggested that the Republican Party is turning into the party of Donald Trump, and data backs up these claims, at least to an extent. According to a Brookings Institution analysis of this fall’s midterm elections, Donald Trump endorsed 75 Republican House and Senate candidates of whom 42 won.
Flake did not compete in this year’s midterms, citing Trump’s “disregard for decency” as the main reason. Perhaps unfamiliar with Flake’s voting record, President Trump publicly boasted about “retiring” the senator, according to Axios.