By Scottsdale Pinetop
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any uglier for Arizona’s Republican Party. The battle for the party’s soul rages on – a Republican Civil War.
The events that occurred on January 6th on the US Capitol Steps isn’t just a significant moment in our history. It’s a distinct line in the sand for Republicans between the far-right and moderate conservative factions.
And the division between Arizona’s Republicans couldn’t be more distinct. This comes at a time when members of Arizona’s GOP should be calling for unity, compassion and accountability. Instead, it has decided to attack three of Arizona’s highest-profile Republicans – sitting Governor Doug Ducey, former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake and the widow of the party’s former presidential nominee and national icon Cindy McCain.
On January 23rd, the Arizona Republic Party will vote on a “Censure McCain” resolution. A vote of disapproval for a woman who dared to speak against President Trump. In 2014, her husband and former Senator McCain was censured by Arizona’s GOP for what they characterized as a liberal voting record that was “disastrous and harmful to the state.” And while the censure is largely symbolic with no serious ramifications, the message is crystal clear. The days of the traditional Republican Party are over with State Chair Kelli Ward at the helm.
But why? What does it hope to gain by doing so?
Even Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel sees the illogic behind the decision saying to the Washington Post, “Obviously we are upset that a prominent Republican would support Joe Biden whose beliefs are the opposite of what our party stands for, but the language in this resolution is abhorrent. My hope is that the Arizona Republican Party will not entertain it. This does nothing to grow our party or put us in a better position to win in 2022.”
The party is at odds with itself. It has been for some time. And after the insurrection at the US Capitol, many of the state’s more moderate Republicans and business leaders are taking a second look at the party and its views on what it means to be conservative, something that has largely been ignored for the past four years.
In the words of President Ronald Reagan, one of history’s most beloved Republicans, “It’s a time for choosing.” A time to choose what kind of party Arizona’s GOP wants to be in a post-Trump environment. Does it remain a traditionally conservative party that embodies the ideals of former Republicans like Goldwater and Kolbe and McCain? Or is it a party of loyalists bound to one individual?