‘I would like to vote for a responsible Democrat…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Rejected by Republicans in his own state, former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said in an interview this week projecting doom and gloom if President Donald Trump is re-elected.
Trump’s rise to power, he told Deseret News, signified the “spasms of a dying party.”
The centrist NeverTrumper—who hails from the desert town of Snowflake, Ariz.—continues to relive his Capitol Hill glory days, including the watershed moment when he was able to leverage his swing vote status to force an FBI investigation of then Supreme Court-nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid salacious, uncorroborated allegations of a decades-old sexual assault.
But even before that, from the outset of Trump’s candidacy, when the future president clashed with fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain and cast aspersions on his military record, Flake was already drawing battle lines.
Now, the ex-congressman says he is actively exploring Democratic options as a last resort.
“I’m more conservative than any of the Democrats running for office,” he said. “What I would like is for the Republican Party to nominate someone else. That doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. … So, I would like to vote for a responsible Democrat.”
Flake said he was currently leaning toward Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet or Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar. However, he also saw redeeming bipartisan qualities in New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker or former Vice President Joe Biden, the current front-runner.
Meanwhile, in his post-Senate career, Flake has been capitalizing on the lucrative Trump-bashing speaker circuit, including regular college-campus gigs and a contributor contract with CBS News. He’s also been invited to serve a 10-week stint as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University in September.
When offering his analysis of the future of the Republican Party, he cited California as a model for how pushing back against the unrelenting wave of left-wing extremism “spells doom long-term.”
Flake said California’s Republican Gov. Pete Wilson in the 1990s was able to rally the conservative base by supporting strong anti-immigration policies, but ultimately the backlash from Latino voters helped solidify the state’s far-left dominance.
“[Y]ou may win a battle, but you lose the war,” Flake told Deseret News. “You can drill down on the base, and it may work in an election here or there, but at some point you run out of angry people.”
Seeing immigration as a losing fight, Flake has long embraced amnesty and more open-border oriented solutions.
He said creating more barriers to illegal immigration at the Mexican border had, paradoxically, shifted the demand from workers who would cross it to work and return home to families seeking to stay.
Flake neglected, however, to mention the many efforts by globalist progressives to encourage illegal immigration by recruiting caravans of migrants to flee Third-World countries and declare themselves as refugees.
Those without family units of their own are often counseled to obtain children who will help expedite their release if caught.
Blue-leaning “sanctuary” states then incentivize the illegals to remain in the U.S. by providing taxpayer-subsidized entitlement benefits, while the increases in non-citizen populations afford their jurisdictions more federal funding and voting power.
It was, in fact, the refusal of the Obama administration to enforce deportations—and the subsequent re-interpretation of immigration law by activist liberal judges—that catalyzed the current influx of families, knowing they could exploit loopholes in the asylum policy.
But in addition to the demographic trend that favors low-income Latino voters, Flake said millennials and suburban, female “soccer moms” were also turning away from the Republican Party.
As the Left drives the debate toward socialist policies like free college tuition and pushes farther to the fringes on wedge issues like abortion, the effort by ‘Trumpist’ conservatives to push back in equal measure ultimately alienates voters who are allured by the siren song of identity politics.
“[T]hey look at the president and say that’s not my party and usually become independent,” he said.
As for himself, Flake claimed that, despite his disparagement of conservative principles, he was keeping the door open before declaring his full-time conversion to Democrat, but he also hadn’t ruled it out.
“At some point, you always make the calculation if we see something irredeemable. I don’t think it is,” he said. “I do think that we can become ourselves again.”
Even so, he said a second Trump term would hinder rather than help the process.
“It’s going to be a lot easier to do after one term than two,” he said.
Flake continues to toe the line on matters such as whether Trump is a racist—saying he, himself, would never use the rhetoric but stopping short of repudiating those who did.
“[T]here are times when the president goes so far that you have to speak out,” he said. “… And if Republicans don’t, then it just becomes normalized.”
Continuing to ignore the Left’s extremism and hate-mongering rhetoric, Flake dismissed the notion that the Kavanaugh protests he was famously confronted by during his waning months were the product of a calculated and orchestrated effort by paid activists.
He validated the premise that the #MeToo movement was an earnest, grassroots initiative and not a cynical, Hollywood-engineered ploy to weaponize allegations of rape for political leverage.
“These allegations (of sexual assault) struck a chord with a lot of women in particular, and rightly so,” Flake said, “because I think we all recognize one thing this #MeToo era has done is to make us all realize that we haven’t taken allegations like this seriously enough.”