'Could doom the GOP to minority status': WSJ slams Arizona Republicans' recent 'meltdown'
Under the direction of far-right Kelli Ward, the Arizona GOP has passed resolutions censuring three Arizona Republicans — Gov. Doug Ducey, Cindy McCain and former Sen. Jeff Flake — for failing to live up their Trumpian standards. And the Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial board slammed the resolution in a blistering editorial published over the weekend.
As the WSJ's editorial board sees it, this type of purity test can only marginalize the Republican Party in the months ahead.
"The resolutions have little practical effect," the editorial board explains, "but they symbolize the party divisions that could doom the GOP to minority status nationwide for years. Ms. Ward, who has run twice for Senate and lost, was endorsed for party chair this past week by Donald Trump. Mr. Trump, now decamped to Mar-a-Lago, is contemplating revenge against everyone in the GOP he blames for his defeat."
Ward is angry with McCain, widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, and Flake because both of them endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Ducey, unlike McCain and Flake, favored Trump. But when Biden won the election, Ducey acknowledged him as president-elect and refused to join Trump in contesting the election results in Arizona — one of the states Biden won. Ducey, much to the chagrin of Trump and Ward, certified Arizona's election results.
The rift between the Arizona Republican Party's establishment and pro-Trump wing widened as committee members censu… https://t.co/B1WMQyNGoZ— The Wall Street Journal (@The Wall Street Journal)1611459002.0
"Sensible parties that lose elections try to reunite in opposition even while they debate policy differences and examine why they lost," the WSJ editorial board emphasizes. "They don't excommunicate people who could help rebuild a majority. Mr. Flake and Ms. McCain found Mr. Trump's behavior as president unacceptable, but they were hardly alone. Mr. Trump didn't lose because Republicans betrayed him. He lost because he alienated too many voters in Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona who liked his policies but disliked his tumultuous leadership."
The Arizona GOP has suffered three major disappoints in statewide races in recent years, including losing two U.S. Senate seats. Once a GOP stronghold closely identified with the conservatism of Sen. Barry Goldwater and his successor, John McCain, Arizona now has two centrist Democratic U.S. senators — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly — and Trump's loss to Biden in Arizona in 2020 was another major blow.
"The attack on Mr. Ducey is simply bizarre," the WSJ's editorial board writes. "The governor has a strong conservative record and will finish his second term in 2022. Senate Republicans have been hoping to recruit him to run against newly elected Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who must run again in 2022 because he is filling former Sen. McCain's uncompleted term."
The editorial board goes on to say, "The Arizona meltdown illustrates Mr. Trump's potential as a former president to damage the GOP for years. He blames Mr. Ducey for not challenging Arizona's electoral votes for Joe Biden, though the governor had no legal grounds for doing so. The Trump campaign's ballot complaints lacked significant evidence, and a challenge lost in court."
The Journal's editorial board concludes its editorial by stressing that if Republicans continue to engage in Trumpian purity tests like the ones coming from the Arizona GOP, they are going to have even more disappointments in the future.
"If Republicans want to keep losing elections," the board warns, "they'll keep fighting over 2020 and Donald Trump instead of looking to the future."
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