Flake Political Future In Limbo With SCOTUS Vote
Few in 2001 would have predicted former leader of Arizona's Goldwater Institute, Jeff Flake, would be the man in the middle without a party to call home at the end of 2018.
Flake was working at the political think tank fostering conservative limited government policies long before the Tea Party formed.
However, with the death of Sen. John McCain, and South Carolina's Sen. Lindsey Graham no longer standing beside him questioning White House policies, Flake is seen as the GOP's lone internal critic.
This week, his popularity grew among moderates and Democrats after he stood with them calling for the FBI to further investigate sex assault claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"He has enjoyed a little bit of the moderate political circuit this week," said political analyst Jim Heath, "He's been welcomed at places where typically a Republican or conservative wouldn't be welcomed."
Heath said Flake could be seen as the Democrats' hero this week if he votes against Kavanaugh, but if he votes to support President Trump's SCOTUS pick it could still backfire.
"That will really leave him in kind of a strange position of not really being satisfactory to any practical ideology. He'll be in truth a man without a political island to call home."
He sees GOP voters no longer coalescing under Goldwater or Reagan values.
"Trump has united the Republican party almost to a hard cult following at this point," Heath said.
He doubts Flake or any other candidate who questions Trump will find support within the Republican Party.
"It's going to be very difficult for anybody to break through that," Heath predicted, "But, there is a scenario, of course, that will leave Jeff Flake and other Republicans who challenge this president looking better than they might look today."
That scenario he said will require Flake to vote against Kavanaugh, Democrats take control of the House, and Trump be impeached.
In that case, Heath predicted, "Any Republican or conservative who challenged [Trump] is going to look awfully good on the other side of that.”
It won't be handed to the Democrats; Heath said Trump Republicans are digging in and expected to rally even harder heading into the upcoming election.