As pro-Trump Republicans celebrate Jeff Flake's decision to leave the Senate when his term ends in January 2019, they should recall one of Flake's finer moments.
Namely, his defense of a Democratic opponent in the face of anti-Muslim Twitter attacks earlier this summer.
If Deedra Abboud wins the Democratic nomination, she may face President Trump's favored GOP primary candidate, Kelli Ward, in November 2018.
Regardless, I hope Republicans push Ward to follow Flake's campaign example towards Abboud. It's certainly in their political interest to do so.
That's because if the GOP nominee takes an overly-hostile approach to Abboud, they'll risk losing Arizona to the Democrats. While Trump won Arizona in 2016, he only did so by 3.5 percentage points (Mitt Romney won by 9 points). Correspondingly, while Trump is an astonishingly skilled campaigner, the GOP nominee will have little room for error if they adopt Trump's no-holds-barred campaign strategy. After all, Trump's successful mix of charisma and chaos is largely unique to him!
So even if they vote for someone who is different than Flake in every other way, GOP primary voters should hope their nominee follows Flake's example towards Abboud.