On Monday, the Kansas City Star reported that Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has been disinvited from an upcoming GOP event in Christian County, one of the most conservative parts of the state, in retaliation for his vote to affirm the House resolution canceling President Donald Trump’s national emergency to build a border wall:
“I am so disappointed in you now that I can hardly speak,” wrote Wanda Martens, a member of the Christian County Republican Central Committee, in an email to Blunt’s office. “Why could you not support my president in the emergency declaration? President Trump tried every available means to work the Senate to resolve the border issue and build the much needed wall. He is well within his presidential powers to do this.”
Martens serves as the local party committee’s events chair. She told the senator in her email, which was obtained by The Kansas City Star, that she did not want to see him when the local party holds its Lincoln/Trump Day Dinner on April 6 in Ozark, Missouri, one of the most conservative areas in the state.
In many ways, this seems like a ridiculous reason for Republicans to reject Blunt — he votes with Trump over 94 percent of the time, and Trump has vetoed the resolution, with little chance of Congress overriding it, so his vote hasn’t affected anything. Moreover, there is no actual emergency at the border, and Missouri is nowhere near the border anyway.
But this act of revolt against a Republican senator for even symbolically going against the president is an illustration of why Republicans have all fallen in line: the slightest challenge to Trump’s will incurs the wrath of primary voters.
This is likely the reason why, aside from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), none of the 12 Republicans who voted with Democrats against Trump’s emergency are up for election this year. Even Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who is broadly considered the most vulnerable GOP senator, and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who wrote a Washington Post op-ed opposing the emergency declaration, ultimately did not dare cross the president on his signature issue.
Unfortunately for Republicans, they will also have to answer to voters who do not support Trump’s agenda — and they are far more numerous. Recent polls have shown that 60 percent of Americans oppose the border wall, and want Congress to override his veto of the resolution canceling the national emergency by 19 points.