The end of the conservative Republican – Chicago Tribune

In a seminal speech Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced that he would not seek re-election because he did not want to accommodate himself to the “new normal” of Donald Trump‘s Republican Party and did not want to adjust to the “present coarseness of our national dialogue.” The speech stood out for its emphasis on the failure of moral leadership in the Republican Party, with the word “principle” appearing 13 times and “values” 11.

Flake rejects the messaging and policy coming out of the White House because he is emphatically a champion of the “old normal.” The White House’s Twitter response offered a different take on Flake’s motivation, but its crudeness affirmed his statements about how the president has degraded politics in Washington: “The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., criticized Trump in announcing his decision not to seek re-election in 2018.

As the news industry struggles to keep up with the volleys lobbed between Trump and his critics, it seems that the Flake speech has struck a chord. He and many Republicans have a name for that “old normal” that they are committed to reinvigorating: conservatism. Once at the forefront of a revolution in the party, where do these conservatives stand now?

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