Republican voters in Arizona emphatically rejected the GOP’s old guard last week, and the late John McCain’s daughter wasn’t too happy.
Meghan McCain dismissed the Republican base as “MAGA Neanderthals” after the GOP’s Trump-backed candidate for governor bragged that the “McCain machine” is dead.
McCain lashes out
The primary victories of former news anchor Kari Lake and venture capitalist Blake Masters, who is running for Senate, marked a triumph for Trump’s “America First” movement.
In a speech at CPAC this weekend, Lake, who overcame strong opposition from the GOP establishment, boasted that her supporters “drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine.”
Meghan McCain, who was a host on The View until last year, responded by dismissing Lake’s rhetoric as an appeal to “CPAC maga Neanderthals” that would turn away independent voters in the general election.
Helluva strategy to win over the majority voting block of Arizona independents in a general election…
I know she thinks she’s governor already but you have to win over more people than just CPAC maga Neanderthals to actually win a general. https://t.co/wuyufTUek1
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 7, 2022
McCain’s father was a senator from Arizona and a leader of a small but vocal “Never Trump” faction that formed in reaction to Trump’s historic upset victory in the 2016 presidential election. Trump and McCain would remain bitter rivals until McCain’s death in 2018.
Old guard fighting for survival
Despite lots of media chatter about Trump’s political demise, his combative brand of politics remains popular with conservatives nearly six years after his rise to the presidency sidelined the Republican establishment led by the likes of McCain and George W. Bush.
The Republican party’s old guard is facing another test next week when Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney and the top Republican on the January 6th committee, squares off against a Trump-backed challenger in her August 16 primary.
Cheney has leaned aggressively into her anti-Trump stance to make her race a referendum on Trump and his hold over the party.
A crushing defeat for Cheney would send an unmistakable message that the Republican party of Bush and McCain is no more.