Rep. Rodney Davis projects an image of Midwestern apple-pie moderation and bipartisanship. He has criticized Donald Trump over issues like the Access-Hollywood tapes and farm tariffs. But don’t be fooled.
In votes that lined up with Trump, Davis voted to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion that covered 350,000 low-income Illinois residents. It took a “no” vote by Sen. John McCain to keep the Affordable Care Act alive.
Davis voted to let insurance companies charge higher premiums to people with previous medical conditions who hadn’t maintained continuous coverage. It’s likely that at least some residents in the 13th District would have been hit hard.
On immigration, he voted to override “sanctuary” decisions made here locally and at the state level. His vote would have required local authorities to imprison immigrants without due process or probable cause, at the request of federal immigration agents.
On gun control, he voted to force Illinois to recognize a concealed-carry gun permit from any state. He voted to repeal a rule requiring the sharing of Social Security information with the national background check system.
On other issues important to the district, he voted for administration curbs on abortion rights and to repeal environmental protections established by the Obama Admininistration.
In a chaotic half-term, Trump did accomplish two things: a tax cut that mostly benefited big corporations and the wealthy while exploding deficits; and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh’s vicious reaction to credible sexual assault claims and his raw, open partisanship should have disqualified him. Davis voted for the tax bill and ducked a local reporter’s question about whether he favored a full investigation of the Kavanaugh allegations.
According to analysis by Five-Thirty-Eight, Davis is out of step with his constituents. Trump won the 13th District in 2016 by only 5.5 percentage points. The district is far from deep red. Assuming that the better Trump did, the more he and the Congressional candidate were in step, Davis would have been expected to support Trump only about 78 percent of the time. Instead, he was with Trump on 96.8 percent of the votes.
It’s a crude measure, but perhaps it does reflect Davis’s reluctance to hold town hall meetings and embrace interaction with his constituents in Democratic-leaning areas like Champaign-Urbana.
Trump is a serial liar, bigot, bully and demagogue who has broken norms of civility and honesty and endangered the foundations of democracy by his verbal attacks on women, people of color, political opponents, critics and the press. He’s an authoritarian-style wrecking ball and proud of it. Davis is one of his enablers.
The hope for a decent America is that the other branches of government will provide checks and balances. Federal courts have done so in many cases, but their power may fade as Trump places more and more judges on the bench. The Republican-controlled Senate looks increasingly unlikely to flip this November. That leaves the House.
Analysts give Democrats an 85 percent chance of flipping the House. That sounds good, but it’s the same odds they gave Hilary Clinton to win in 2016 — and roughly your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette.
If those odds worry you, vote for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Davis’s opponent. She’s a moderate Democrat on policy issues — and electing her would be one more step toward a Democratic-controlled House that could rein in the President.