Report: Aides Told Trump that Attacking John McCain Could Cost Him Arizona
According to The New York Times (we know, we know, take it with a grain of salt) aides with the Trump campaign urged the president to stop attacking the late John McCain because they were worried that it could cost them the state of Arizona in the election.
With the fate of Arizona dramatically uncertain on Thursday morning, those warnings are resurfacing as pundits on both sides of the aisle try to nail down why the state *might* have gone blue in 2020.
We tend to give the McCain theory short shrift, to be honest. First of all, sitting here at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, we’re not at all convinced that Arizona DID go blue. Despite Fox News and the Associated Press having called it for Joe Biden, there are significant reasons to believe that Trump could ultimately get the W in Arizona.
Second, we’re more compelled by the theory that the shift was driven by an influx of Californians who have fled that state’s punishing economic structure over the last four years. Which, incidentally, is another reason for Texas and other red states to slow their roll when it comes to extending invitations to these displaced Californians, most of whom bring their politics with them – as stupid as that would seem.
Third, has Trump even said anything about McCain in months? If he did, we must have missed it. In today’s ultra-short, ultra-fast news cycle, was John McCain really on the minds of Arizona voters as they cast their ballots? It’s not impossible, we suppose, but it just doesn’t strike us as a coherent theory.
We’d be more inclined to believe that the Latino vote flipped the state blue than to believe that Arizona was getting some sort of wild revenge on the president for smearing the Great McCain. After all, Trump never said anything about McCain that was worse than his “he’s a war hero because he was captured” remarks from 2015. If that didn’t anger Arizonians enough to make them turn on Trump, we’re not sure anything in the last four years would have done it.
It may all be academic, anyway. As of Thursday, CNN, The New York Times, and NBC News all still have Arizona in the “too close to call” column. It could be that Fox News and the AP will have a whole lot of egg on their faces if the votes in Maricopa County end up favoring the president.