Last week in Greensboro, North Carolina Republicans voted to formally censure Sen. Thom Tillis because of his work on bipartisan efforts in the Senate for modest gun control and same-sex marriage.

We’ve been watching the rise of Sen. Thom Tillis for some time.

A trip through our archives gives us the highlights that include failing upwards from a seat on the Cornelius Town Commission to the NC House, where he became speaker in 2010 and ran largely unopposed until 2014, when he defeated Kay Hagan for the US Senate seat.

In that time he has committed all manner of right-wing chicanery, including the initial denial of Medicaid expansion in NC (2014), support for the anti-trans Bathroom Bill (2016) and performing a bait-and-switch on his vote to fund Trump’s bogus border crisis (2018). In short, he’s done nothing but appease his masters and curry political favor with his backwards party from the very first day.

And this is how they pay him back?

Seriously, Tillis made his name as one of the most conservative voices in the Senate. It was Trump who broke his back by forcing Tillis to contort himself to fit into whatever position the former president felt like taking that day. It wasn’t until after Jan. 6 that Tillis started to break away again, voting to uphold the results of the Electoral College in the wake of the disaster.

The line drawn by censuring Tillis doesn’t force him out of office, but the formal reprimand all but guarantees the GOP wants to back a primary challenger in his next re-election bid. But that’s not until 2026.

Perhaps we can take solace in the fact that if Tillis knows anything at all, it’s which way the political winds are blowing. So if he seems unconcerned about payback from the GOP ground troops, perhaps we shouldn’t be either.

But if mainstream Republicans deem Tillis — who has been a footsoldier for the GOP playbook — unworthy of their trust, then we should be worried about who’s left in the tent.

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