Last month, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced he would not be running for re-election. Trump victory? Not so much. Trump nightmare? Wait and see.

Jeff Flake’s stepping away from the Senate is good for Jeff Flake. It is good for the Republican Party, and it is very good for the country. I would like to discuss why.

Like many of his colleagues in the Senate, Flake wants to be president of the United States. He is a candidate out of Central Casting, and if a rumpled old suit like Bernie Sanders can make a viable bid for the White House, so can a Kennedyesque conservative from Red State America.

From the very beginning of the Trump wave of dystopia, Flake has dared to stand up to The Donald. The Donald doesn’t like that and vowed to take the sitting and popular senator down.

Because of Trump’s active opposition, Flake may have faced an uphill battle, but announcing he would not run again has freed him to a higher cause: the presidency.

In his retirement speech on the Senate floor, Flake spoke eloquently about the “indecency of our discourse” and the “reckless, outrageous, undignified” atmosphere.

This devout Mormon is disgusted by what Trump has done to our country. His disgust for the president was palpable when he said, “Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly or debased appetites in us.”

Flake knows he would rather run against Trump than against Trump’s legacy. This is why he must challenge the president in the upcoming election.

If Flake waited seven years, he would being running against one of two realities. The first is that Trump will have been a huge success, and Mike Pence would be the obvious and deserving heir apparent. The more likely scenario is that the country will be left in a shambles, and any Republican would not stand a chance.

In fact, I believe there is a better chance than not that Trump will not complete his term in office. He seems entirely ill-suited for the presidency. All around him is a scandalous stink that is not going away anytime soon.

We may never know if the Trump campaign and its allies were directly involved with the Russian efforts to skew the 2016 results. Be we now know that Trump people were talking to the Russians while it was happening.

Colin Jost, from “Saturday Night Live,” may have put it best when he said, “Trump may not be guilty, but we know he is not not-guilty.” Funny and profound, all at once.

Jeff Flake can save the Republican Party. Fine people whom I love and respect have supported Trump. I want more for them. Flake would allow them to regain their

dignity.

A 2020 Flake candidacy would free up true conservatives to seek out a viable alternative to Trump. Flake could be the savior riding in on the white horse. Throughout his career, he has garnered the highest ratings from conservative interest groups. These folks know in their hearts that Trump is a party of one, and his true convictions do not go far beyond his spirit of self-aggrandizement.

Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat from Delaware, recently called his fellow senator in the opposition party “an honorable man, a loyal friend and a valued colleague.” These are not accolades made often, if ever, about Donald J. Trump. But it is the type of person we need to hold elective office. It is the type of person we should all aspire to be.

We need role models in this world, not folks who are driven by profit and fame alone. We certainly do not need to enrich and empower people who mock the disabled, defame the brave, and dehumanize others.

This is why this country would benefit from having Flake remain in politics and oppose Trump and his debasing discourse. Many of us dreaded the return of a Clinton soap opera redux. I know I did. What we got instead is far worse — and Donald Trump does not even pretend to feel our pain. He doesn’t want to drain the swamp. He wants to own it.

As for the Democrats, they have their own issues to address. After eight years of a scandal-free Obama administration, we had a choice and we chose wrong — though I admit there may not have been a right choice.

 

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