North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis is a politician benefitting from excellent timing. He won his seat in the U.S. Senate in 2014, after the 2008 Obama wave that swept his predecessor, Democrat Kay Hagan, into office, and before the potential 2020 wave that could kill his upcoming chances at re-election. The fact that he’s firmly wrapped his arms around Trump’s lower legs like a little boy begging to be ferried around the kitchen may or may not save his skin.
In 2008, Hagan beat incumbent Elizabeth Dole, raking in over 2 million votes. Come re-election in 2014, and without the benefit of Obama on the ticket, she lost to Tillis, grabbing only about 1.3 million votes in a tight race that was determined by a little more than – remember this for later – one percent.
Tillis campaigned on opposing the Affordable Care Act, opposing medical marijuana, refusing Medicaid expansion, and claiming climate change is a hoax. He also had the full support of Mitch McConnell. Tillis was basically a 2014 “beta” version of the Trump that would swallow America’s reputation whole just two years later.
North Carolina has a reputation for being notoriously purple. The state went for Obama in 2008, but flipped to Romney in 2012 and backed Trump in 2016. When Democrat Roy Cooper won the Governor’s mansion in 2012, the poor guy was faced with a veto-proof majority of Republicans in the State Legislature. Those Republicans were the sore losers who famously held a “special session” only weeks before Cooper took office and voted to strip him of power, including his ability to make appointments to the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission.
Also keep in mind that the same Republican-controlled legislature passed the infamous 2016 “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” better known as the “Bathroom Bill” which stated individuals may only use restrooms corresponding with the sex listed on their birth certificates (“We see you, transgender community… and we up you one.”) The passage of that bill, signed by then Republican Governor Pat McCrory led to a massive backlash from corporations who halted plans in the state. And that led to the loss of over 400 million dollars in investment and jobs for North Carolina.
It was no surprise then, come 2018, the Republicans lost their glorious veto-proof supermajority in both chambers, and McCrory had his hat handed to him by Roy Cooper, though again by just about- you guessed it- one percent.
This all adds up to the true definition of “swing state” for North Carolina. One percent of the vote can change everything. And Thom Tillis, who has shackled himself so tightly to Trump that they should both consider a re-make of The Defiant Ones, may ultimately regret it. But if Tillis plans to slowly tiptoe away from Trump and his policies this year, there’s no sign of it yet. Here are some highlights of Tillis celebrating King Donald at a rally just this month.
Thom Tillis is one bad red apple. Need more reasons?
Thom Tillis voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Thom Tillis voted to ban abortion after 20 weeks.
Thom Tillis voted to put Brett M. Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.
Thom Tillis voted against overturning President Trump’s emergency declaration for border wall funding.
And Thom Tillis voted to acquit President Trump during the impeachment.
Thom Tillis also supported the nominations of…
Thom Tillis has chosen to remain a proud Trump toady in a state where the cities are turning more blue, but the rural areas more red. His 2020 race against Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, a former North Carolina state Senator and Army veteran, is expected to be expensive and very tight (like, “one percent” tight). And it could ultimately determine whether the Democrats flip the Senate.
Cal Cunningham’s campaign will need national support and funding to ensure he makes Thom Tillis a one-term Senator. Tillis is a political mini-clone of The Donald, and expects to ride his coat tails to another term, where he’ll continue to deprive the people of North Carolina of quality health care, deny Medicaid expansion for the poor and people of color, discriminate against LGBTQ, and drive the progress of North Carolina back 50 years.
Election Day is TUESDAY, NOV 3rd, 2020