You probably haven’t heard the name Thom Tillis all that often. The junior Senator from North Carolina made headlines last week when he said he would vote for legislation to block Trump’s national emergency. Though he hails from a purple state that Donald Trump only won by four points in 2016, he has been a staunch Trumper over the past two years, so he’s not of the same category as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine who has to show she can flip flop on Trump when it suits her, if she wants to appeal to any voters back home.
However, Tillis hasn’t gotten a great reception at home for his decision, which he defends as entrusting too much power to the executive branch. North Carolina Republican activists have called for a primary challenger to replace him in 2020. So far, no Republicans have shown any interest – not necessarily because they agree with Tillis, but possibly because incumbents are difficult to primary, and they don’t know what the political battleground will look like in a year, particularly after Republicans lost their supermajority in the state legislature in 2018.
This is noteworthy because while the vote to revoke the national emergency is set for next week, it is expected to pass in the Senate. The only question now is how many Republicans will join and vote with the Democrats. Sen. Rand Paul, who has a reputation for being a Trump sycophant, has come out against it and predicts that as many as ten Republican Senators could vote against it. We know that at least seven of them are holding out for sure. The other notorious Trump sycophant in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, has cautioned fellow senators from voting against it, saying that Donald Trump will back their primary challengers – but few, if any of them, are listening.
The GOP Congress fell lockstep behind Donald Trump rather quickly – seeing that if nothing else, he’d autograph whatever unpopular legislation they wanted to pass and nominate conservative federal judges. Now, the honeymoon seems to be ending, as the party unravels.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making