Following the U.S. Senate’s vote to protect marriage equality in America, the News & Observer editorial board notes a “battle brewing” in the North Carolina Republican Party: Rep. Mark Brody has called to sanction Senator Thom Tillis for his “yes” vote. It’s fitting for a party bridled by the far-right MAGA fringe that’s growing “more influential than ever” to penalize a sitting Senator for upholding the right to marry who you love. As the editorial writes, it’s also a warning sign for 2024 as the GOP “won’t be able to escape the reckoning much longer.”
News & Observer: NC battle brewing? Republican wants Thom Tillis sanctioned for same-sex marriage vote
- One North Carolina lawmaker has gone so far as to call for Tillis to be sanctioned by the NCGOP for breaking with the state and national Republican Party’s official platforms, which clearly recognize marriage as between one man and one woman.
- The clash — one-sided as it might be at the moment — highlights the budding questions North Carolina Republicans are facing about their party’s identity. Specifically, who is the North Carolina Republican Party, and who does it want to be? Is it represented by Tillis, a staunch conservative who has also shown a willingness to work across the aisle? Is it represented by people like Brody, who think their beliefs are an excuse to discriminate? Or is it someone like Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who takes those beliefs even further with vitriolic rhetoric that embarrasses our state on a regular basis?
- But with Donald Trump determined to return to the White House, Robinson eyeing the governor’s mansion and the MAGA wing of the party more influential than ever, North Carolina Republicans won’t be able to escape the reckoning much longer. 2024 will almost certainly be a test for North Carolina Republicans, who will have to decide whether to support Trump in a state he only narrowly won in 2020.
- With Robinson, North Carolina Republicans seem to be repeating the cycle national Republicans had with Trump in 2016 and 2020 — seeing him dominate in polls and therefore fearing what would happen if they criticized abhorrent comments. National Republicans, many of whom are distancing themselves from Trump, finally seem like they may have learned their lesson. In North Carolina, the GOP seems unaware of — or unwilling to realize — the long-term damage Robinson might do to their party.