Yesterday I watched a few minutes of Fox News as Chris Wallace asked [insert random Democrat Senator here] a direct question: If Republicans ram through a Trump SCOTUS nominee, can Democrats do anything to stop it? Several non-answers provided the answer: No.
Republicans shouldn’t hold back. Too many people in the media and punditry are playing too clever by half games here. This is a very straightforward play. Ram away.
Former CNN show host Reza Aslan tweeted, then deleted “if they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f***ing thing down.” He then commented on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement that Trump’s nominee will receive hearings and a floor vote, “Over our dead bodies. Literally.”
Writing in POLITICO, Tim Alberta made a case why Trump should wait and “tease” the nominee as a reason to re-elect him.
Trump has catered to the religious right in outsize ways. His administration has consistently charged headlong into controversial policy areas, such as abortion and religious liberty, that Republican predecessors steered away from. In meetings with top social conservative leaders—whom he regularly hosts at the White House—Trump has not been shy about reminding them that he’s kept his promises. It’s possible that the president will view this sudden Supreme Court vacancy as part of that old transaction. It’s also possible, however, that he comes to see it as part of a new transaction; that with just 46 days remaining until the election, he needs every carrot he can possibly dangle in front of voters.
This isn’t about promises kept. White evangelical voters who believe Trump has kept his promises aren’t going to be swayed by a dangling carrot of RBG’s replacement. They’ve been waiting for this moment for four years. Whether it happens now, or in Trump’s second term doesn’t matter to these voters. In fact, they worry Trump may lose, and could hold it against him for playing tease right now.
What it’s really about is making the Democrats frothing, drooling, hair-pulling mad. It’s about breaking every single Democrat in the Senate in a circus of mental illness and rage. It’s about making people like Reza Aslan go “postal” (pardon the bad timing on the pun) to the maximum degree possible. It’s about literally fomenting civil unrest over an appointment that they feel is theirs, like they felt Merrick Garland was theirs.
Of course, both parties can play the both-sides game all they want. McConnell at least has the benefit of being consistent. The Senate is a political body, and as long as Republicans run it, a Democrat president won’t get the benefit of a lame-duck year SCOTUS appointment, while a Republican president will get the benefit of an election year nomination.
Democrats would do the same thing, and they know it. Joe Biden would do the same thing. But Democrats will try to claim the high road while simultaneously threatening to burn the whole country down, make any filthy, insane allegation against whatever nominee Trump names stick, and generally behave like untamed asses.
The “mostly peaceful” riots with burning building in the background will now move to the U.S. Senate, with Democrats doing the burning. If there was possibly better imagery to help Trump overcome his polling deficit in the last six weeks before the election, I can’t think of it.
There’s no carrot play here. It’s going to be ram away. And Democrats know it’s coming.