Democrats, CNN broadcasters and others who relish any opposition to Donald Trump were quick to celebrate the performance of Republican Senator Jeff Flake, when he delivered a blistering 17-minute critique of the US president. It was a stinging and largely accurate rebuke and it was an admirable defence of American conservative values.
Unfortunately, though, it won’t accomplish much except to excite the people who are already opposed to the president. The value of Flake standing up to Trump is dramatically diminished by the fact that he, like Bob Corker of Tennessee, is not running again in 2018.
What Trump’s opponents don’t seem to realize is that he doesn’t want to win over the Republican establishment, he wants to replace it. Each traditional conservative who walks away could be replaced by someone much more sympathetic to Trump, the result being a brand new Republican party that’s nationalist, isolationist and protectionist. When someone like Jeff Flake delivers a parting shot against the president, it might be evidence that Trump is winning, not losing, the battle.