Heading into Tuesday's Arizona primary, Sen. John McCain's focus is on the general election, where he fully intends to continue standing with Donald Trump. Because, well, who knows, except that he recognizes that his party has been taken over by Trumpism, so he may as well join in.No matter the magnitude of his victory against Republican Kelli Ward -- and McCain is favored to win easily -- McCain (R-Ariz.) made clear last week that there will be no general election turn against his party's bombastic nominee.
"No. There's no reason to do that," McCain said in an interview at his campaign headquarters here. "They all know me. Everybody in Arizona really knows me unless they just moved in."
He knows his state, but he's writing off a pretty darned significant chunk of the electorate -- Latinos, women, non-racists. And he's leaving a big opening for his Democratic opponent, Ann Kirkpatrick.
"The central thesis of Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's (D-Ariz.) campaign is that McCain is afraid to stand up to Trump's personal invective, tough talk on immigration and isolationist foreign policy -- and therefore is no longer standing up for an increasingly diverse Arizona.
"Twisting the knife in deeper, Kirkpatrick openly admits she used to vote for McCain. Now she's giving him the only real Democratic challenge of his 30-plus years in politics.
"'The fact that he continues to support Donald Trump in spite of the fact that Trump insulted him, in spite of the fact that Trump insulted a Gold Star family, shows that he's changed. There was a day that he would have stood up for that family, would have stood up for himself,' Kirkpatrick said in an interview.
"'It's baffling to me that he continues to support Trump in spite of the horrible racist, sexist, discriminating things that Trump said,' she added."
Not so baffling, maybe, when you review McCain's career since he lost the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008. He's been an enthusiastic supporter of Mitch McConnell's obstruct-at-all costs strategy, never using his seniority and his clout within the institution to do what's best for the country. He gave up the "Maverick" for the party man, and now that that party is Trump's, he's sticking with it.