WaPo: John McCain Fights for His Life in the Era of Trump

August 30, 2016


Paul Kane of the Washington Post writes that Sen. John McCain is in the fight of his life for re-election, due in part to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.


From the Post:


After 30 years in the Senate, during which he transformed himself from war hero into political icon, John McCain now finds himself in more jeopardy than at any time during his political career. And for much of that, he can blame Donald Trump.


This reelection campaign, his fifth, is forcing the Arizona Republican to do battle on multiple fronts, testing his political dexterity in ways unlike any of his previous races, including two unsuccessful bids for the presidency.


First he must clear his primary Tuesday, a day after he turns 80, against an arch-conservative whose campaign received a late six-figure boost from a Trump donor. Then, assuming he wins the nomination, he must move into a general election just two months away against a well-funded Democrat, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, whose campaign is wrapping McCain’s support for Trump around the veteran Republican’s neck in a bid to drive up Latino turnout.


McCain insists that he will not alter his high-wire campaign strategy, which basically involves steadfast support for Trump while also reserving the right to regularly criticize the GOP nominee when he does or says something objectionable.


But the personal and political antipathy between McCain and Trump has led some experts to suspect that McCain will dump Trump after he secures his party’s nomination Tuesday. The political calculus is that he desperately needs Trump’s voters to win the primary but needs Trump voters and anti-Trump independents to win the general election. McCain says he does not expect to stop supporting Trump before Election Day.

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