The Rise of Tom Cotton

Sen. Tom Cotton speaks with reporters in Washington, D.C., in 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)
No matter what happens four years from now, Cotton has become someone Senate Republicans look to for leadership on a broad array of thorny issues.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S enator Tom Cotton has plenty of competition when you think of the forces driving the ideological development of today’s GOP. Nebraska’s Ben Sasse has a Ph.D. and was a university president. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are whip-smart, well-spoken constitutional experts.

And yet, Cotton has begun to play a key role in shaping the direction of the caucus, and he might have the brightest political future of the bunch.

Cotton was never seen as an intellectual lightweight; his Harvard Law degree made sure of that. But he didn’t enter the Senate with a reputation as a wonk, either. He’d spent only seven


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