John McCain RIP… A political analysis

Michael Greiner
4 min readAug 26, 2018

John McCain was a genuine hero. A warrior who fought valiantly in Vietnam and maintained his honor despite his imprisonment. His public service continued in the U.S. Senate where he attempted to be a voice of reason in a crazy environment. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes not.

Nevertheless, he was truly a great man. But that is not what this post is about.

It may seem too early to some to discuss the political implications of McCain’s death, but he was a public figure. He held a seat that makes the Senate Republican. Despite his rhetoric, he did little to stand up to Donald Trump. Except for the health care rejection, he was a reliable vote for the Republican leadership and Trump. So if you like what Trump is doing in Washington, you can at least in part thank John McCain.

He was also a partisan who once described himself as a George Bush Republican. After his defeat for the Republican Senate nomination, he set aside his ego to support the party nominee.

Some, including myself, may view that action as an act of self-sacrifice and honor. However, McCain’s subsequent support of George W. Bush’s candidacy played a part in the start of our endless and pointless war in Iraq. If you like that, you can also thank John McCain. It is part of his legacy.

Finally, despite failing health for the last year, McCain held onto his seat. He couldn’t even attend most Senate sessions. His effort here probably played a greater role in potentially keeping the Senate in the hands of Republicans than virtually anything else.

Consider the following facts. Now that McCain has passed, Arizona state law requires the Governor appoint a successor of the same party. Thus, he will appoint a Republican. The Governor, Doug Ducey, is a traditional Republican, certainly no maverick as McCain fashioned himself. He will appoint someone who is probably even more supportive of Trump’s policies than McCain was.

The way the law works is that an appointed replacement for a Senator is a temporary appointment. That seat must be voted on in the next scheduled election. So you would think that whoever is appointed by the Governor will be up for re-election this year.

Michael Greiner

Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.