WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate voted, with half a dozen Republican senators joining Democrats, to reject President Trump’s national emergency declaration on the border on Thursday. Some of those Republican senators voted in line with their record of extraordinary deference to the constitution, making arguments absolutely consistent with their documented approach to the balance of powers.
However, Sen. Thom Tillis (RINO-NC), after being one of the most public cheerleaders of pushing back against Trump’s declaration; after years of joining with Democrats to advance their agenda on the very issue of immigration; after feigning a constitutional streak and parroting talking points from Democrats hell-bent on contesting Trump no matter what, the former Speaker of the N.C. House put his finger in the air, saw the polling numbers, and voted with the president.
You can call it a change of heart, but we all know it is merely a case of an election year conversion. Just this week we brought you insights from recent polling that makes clear how detrimental a vote against the president on this issue would be for vulnerable Republican senators. And Tillis is the definition of vulnerable; they even used his picture for the polling focus piece because he is a poster boy for opposing his own party on immigration. He is one of the least popular Republicans among his own electorate.
No doubt, Tillis, and those around him, saw this polling within the context of his 2020 reelection wishes, and subsequently reversed his opposition to the declaration on a dime. It seems rumors of a well-funded, credentialed primary opponent are causing Tillis to rethink how much water he carries for Democrats.
And, according the NCGOP, we’re supposed to believe Tillis is now a border hawk happily backing up Trump on illegal immigration.
NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes:
“While Senator Tillis expressed his concerns about setting a precedent that a future liberal Democrat President could exploit, we applaud him for working with the White House on ensuring necessary changes are made to the National Emergencies Act. We look forward to supporting President Trump and Senator Tillis as they work to secure our borders and fix the broken National Emergencies Act.”
Why is the NCGOP applauding Tillis, really? Probably for having the temerity to completely flip-flop at the last minute for purely electoral reasons, and making the NCGOP’s defense of his seat in the 2020 primary a bit easier for them.
Considering the NCGOP’s electoral track record over the last few cycles, they need all the help they can get. The problems have come, not because they have been too conservative, but because they are too much like Tillis as a party organization. Looking at Tillis’ poll numbers makes clear that is not a good way to be.
In short, Tillis’ and the Establishment crowd put their fingers in the air, and initiated one of those all too common Election Year Conversions.