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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    I know Jeff Flake. Trump has shaken him to his core.

    I know Jeff Flake. Trump has shaken him to his core.

    Robert Robb, The Arizona Republic Opinion
    Published 6:04 p.m. ET Oct. 24, 2017 | Updated 7:16 p.m. ET Oct. 24, 2017

    I have known Jeff Flake for a very long time.

    I was a member of the Goldwater Instituteís executive committee that brought him back to the state to run the think tank in 1992. We worked closely together in those capacities until I left to become a newspaper scribbler in 1999 and Flake left to become a congressman in 2000.

    I know this: Flake isnít afraid of a political fight. And heís not afraid of taking on a losing cause (though I think it was premature to conclude that was his inevitable fate in his re-election bid.)

    In fact, early in his congressional career, Flake made a practice of championing lost causes, often casting dissenting votes with only a handful of other members. These were usually based upon his staunch libertarian economic principles, which many Republicans in Congress profess but few actually understand and abide by.

    And sometimes Flake turned losing causes into winning ones, such as his long crusade to ban earmarks ó designated funding for pet local projects ó in appropriations bills.

    So, why has Flake dropped out?

    The rise of Donald Trump has clearly shaken Flake to his core. In his speech announcing that he wouldnít run for re-election, Flake offered a sober analysis of his prospects. But I donít think it was entirely a matter of political calculation. I just donít think Flake wants to be in politics during the Age of Trump.

    Flake has substantial policy differences with Trump, over trade and immigration. But Flake's fundamental problem, as reflected in his book Conscience of a Conservative, is the way Trump practices politics.

    Trump only has one political mode: attack, attack, attack. American politics has long been characterized by demagoguery, hyperbole and ad hominem attacks. Trump, however, is sui generis. Thatís all heís got. Thereís not a persuasive bone in his body.

    In his speech, Flake said he doubted that there was room in todayís Republican Party for a traditional conservative such as himself, dedicated to limited government, free markets, free trade, and pro-immigration. That has yet to be proved at the ballot box.

    In 2010, the tea-party movement ousted some so-called establishment Republicans. And Trump did win the Republican Party nomination for president. But, generally, even in 2016, establishment Republicans have more than held their own against insurgents.

    What divides the Republican Party today isnít really principle. Itís tactics. Establishment Republicans understand political reality, perhaps too well. Insurgents donít accept that there are practical political constraints. If the ideal isnít getting done, it has to be because of bad faith, incompetence or complacency.

    What Trump means for the future of the Republican Party remains unclear. Thatís because what constitutes Trumpism ó other than egoism and vanity ó is unclear.

    In many ways, Trump has governed in a surprisingly conservative manner. His deregulation campaign has lifted uncertainty from the economy. His judicial picks are right out of the Federalist Society handbook, literally.

    He fought, ineffectually, for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. He and GOP leaders are generally on the same page when it comes to tax reform, although I believe they are both on the wrong page.

    He is moving more cautiously on trade than his campaign bombast would have suggested, although he remains a substantial worry on that front.

    His foreign policy and military leadership have been erratic. But he hasnít actually retreated to the America First and Only posture of his campaign rhetoric.

    The principal problem with Trumpism is Trump. Actionable political consensus isnít forged through Twitter invectives. A politics in a constant state of tumult isnít conducive to getting things done. The politics of attack, attack, attack exhausts and corrodes the civic soul.

    Jeff Flake is a good, decent, honest and honorable man. The space for such people in American politics has always been small. Trump is making it even smaller.

    Robert Robb is an editorial columnist for The Arizona Republic, where this piece first appeared.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/opini...umn/796751001/
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Jeff Flake is a good, decent, honest and honorable man. The space for such people in American politics has always been small. Trump is making it even smaller.
    Flake is an open borders free trader, that is not honorable, that is not good. Immigration has flooded our nation with people we can't sustain and free trade has bankrupted the United States. He may be a nice guy to have an iced tea or beer with, but he is not a good citizen. He and all like him are Anti-Citizens which makes them all unfit to be in the US Congress.
    grandmasmad and Beezer like this.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
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