ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Jeff Flake expresses concerns with Republican Party’s future

Feb 19, 2018, 10:28 AM | Updated: 12:41 pm
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol H...

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Flake, a leading advocate of striking a bipartisan immigration deal, is guarded about whether his chamber will be able to produce compromise legislation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHOENIX — Sen. Jeff Flake expressed his concerns over a lack of effort on the part of the Republican Party to be more racially inclusive during an appearance on “Face the Nation” Sunday.

The junior senator from Arizona was among a panel of Republican lawmakers who will be retiring after the 2018 midterm elections. Some of the other lawmakers, including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, worried about the party’s ability to adapt to changing demographics.

“If you look, every four years, every presidential election cycle, we are as a country 2 percent less white,” Flake said.

“You know, voters of color. It’s changing that way. And I don’t think that we’ve made enough of an effort as Republicans to appeal across a broader electorate.”

Flake, who announced last year he would be retiring in large part due to the “Trump factor,” said the president has likely caused younger people to turn from the party.

“Given some of the positions, and the behavior that the president has exhibited, I think it makes it very difficult for young people to identify with the Republican Party,” Flake said.

“I think they’ve been walking away from the party in general. I think they’re at a dead sprint right now.  And we’ve got to change that.”

Flake also expressed frustration with the Republican Party’s ability to pass big pieces of legislation, including a ban on bump stocks which surfaced after the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas.

“In the Senate we have a 60-vote requirement for most legislation. And we’ve had a hard time coming together,” Flake said.

“There are things that we should — on the gun issue, obviously the bump stocks, ‘no fly, no buy,’ those kind of things — there’s broad consensus in the country, certainly. And there should be, and I hope that we can move legislation like that. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to.”

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Sen. Jeff Flake expresses concerns with Republican Party’s future