In a major political shakeup, North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham has announced that she is leaving the Democratic Party and joining the GOP, thus giving Republicans a veto-proof majority in the state legislature.
The news broke amid the indictment of former President Donald Trump on what is being called unconstitutional charges. This could just be a taste of the backlash Democrats after the arrest of former President Trump.
The decision seems to have been sparked by a heated dispute with other Democrats over her use of American flag and praying hands emoji on social media and on her vehicles. Cotham said that she was criticized by members of her own party, and that even a woman cursed her out at a store when she was shopping with her son.
The Republican Party has welcomed Cotham to the fold, with state GOP chair Michael Whatley saying that her decision “continues to reflect that the Democratic Party is too radical for North Carolina.” Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who formerly served as the state’s House speaker, praised Cotham as “a no-nonsense legislator who works hard to make a positive difference for all North Carolinians.”
The move has major political implications for North Carolina, a swing state where Republicans had been just one seat short of a supermajority in the legislature. With a veto-proof majority in place, Republicans are now free to push a wide range of legislation, from reforming education to restricting abortion, without necessarily needing to compromise with Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cotham has accused Cooper of “telling you what to do” and claimed that the Democratic Party will “bully” those who don’t do what the party wants. She may have felt that the Democratic Party no longer represented her values and beliefs, thus prompting her to make the switch.
It remains to be seen how this move will affect North Carolina politics going forward. However, one thing is for certain: With a veto-proof majority in the state legislature, the Republican Party now has a much stronger grip on power in the state.