On a one-vote margin, there are plenty of what-ifs. NH seat stolen last year, sure, as well as the Murkowski theft that you mentioned. But what about Sharron Angle and Ken Buck blowing the 2010 elections in NV and CO and Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock blowing the 2012 elections in MO and IN? Or the theft of the VA Senate seat in 2014? Or even President Trump deciding not to appoint ND RAT Senator Heidi Heitkamp (herself the beneficiary of a blown/stolen election in 2012) to the Cabinet, which wouldhave resulted in a Republican being appointed to the seat? The GOP easily could have 58+ Senate seats, which would have made three defections irrelevant.
We need to pick up as many Senate seats as possible in 2018. Yes, we need to elect conservatives, but before we label anyone who isn’t to the right of Ted Cruz a RINO we should keep in mind that Heller and Flake both voted for the bill, whereas we know how “conservative Democrats” from NV and AZ would have voted.
No one should think this was a close vote.
McCain willingly acted as a proxy for all the Sens who didn't really want this.
If not him, it would have been someone else. I bet that on a secret ballot this bill wouldn't have gotten 30 votes.