It must be hard to be a Republican these days. Instead of a party based on ideas, it’s a party based on a cult of personality. When Senator Thom Tillis tried to establish himself as a man who stands on principle, he was rebuffed by the Trump wing of party for breaking with the president.
Tillis famously wrote a detailed op-ed in the Washington Post outlining his opposition to Trump declaring an emergency on our southern border. When Republicans screamed, he quickly backed down and a week or so after the op-ed, voted to support the emergency the so elegantly opposed. He followed his vote with numerous fawning tweets about the president.
Apparently, he debased himself enough to earn Trump’s support. Yesterday, the president endorsed Tillis in his primary with Garland Tucker. In today’s Republican Party, loyalty to Trump clearly trumps conservative ideals.
Tillis followed the path of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham famously bashed Trump during his 2016 campaign and then did an about face once he became president. Graham quickly figured out where the Republican base in South Carolina stood and it was right beside Trump. Since then, he’s been the president’s chief defender and seen his favorability among Republicans skyrocket. Instead of being vulnerable to a primary, he’s one of the most popular Republican US Senators.
Tillis is hoping his approval rating improves accordingly. Recent polls showed him unpopular across the political spectrum and vulnerable in both the primary and general election. Now, he wants to prove that instead of being an independent voice, he’s a Trump lacky like Graham. Because, you know, getting elected is far more important than standing on principle. Fealty to Trump is now a core Republican value. That’s the beginning of a cult of personality.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >