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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tomasky: Dems Must Meet Three Challenges in SCOTUS Fight

From Michael Tomasky’s op-ed, “The Right Has Won the Supreme Court. Now What?” at The New York Times, which presents three things Democrats need to do:

First of all, they need simply to reflect on their recent history and understand why they’re in this situation. The time to play hardball was 2016. Maybe there’s nothing they could have done, given that the Republicans ran the Senate. But consider this counterfactual….We might not be in this situation if they’d played for keeps in 2016.

Tomasky provides a plausible ‘what if’ scenario, which makes a case that a stronger Supreme Court nomination than Merrick Garland, the 43-year old California Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, would have had a better chance against the likes of McConnell and company. Further,

The second thing the Democrats have to do is fight this nomination to the bitter end. Maintain, even if it’s manufactured, some aura of optimism and eagerness for the battle. Mr. Schumer said all the right things Wednesday afternoon, but if you watch the video, you’ll see he wasn’t exactly breathing fire…Democratic and progressive groups will have ample opportunity to pressure the four or five Republican senators who might become no votes. If the Democrats press Mr. Schumer’s hypocrisy argument effectively, public opinion could turn in their favor, even in some of those key Republican senators’ states. Unpredictable things happen all the time, especially in Trumpworld.

Sometimes you have to fight like hell, even when the odds are bad. Democrats have to show that they have a pulse, they are not going to cave and they are ready to rumble against the GOP’s betrayal of democracy. In addition,

Yes, chances are the Democrats will lose this one, which brings us to the third thing they must do. They need to get their core constituencies to understand the stakes and to vote with the Supreme Court, and really all federal judges, at top of mind…And don’t forget Robert Mueller, the special counsel, or think he isn’t relevant here. If he issues a report in July or August, as many now expect, and if that report presents evidence that Mr. Trump did indeed obstruct justice, Mr. Schumer and the Democrats can make a strong case that a president governing under such a cloud — who might yet be found to have colluded with Russia in his election — has no business making Supreme Court nominations. That nominee, if confirmed, may well be ruling on matters relating to the investigation of the president. No, it’s not clear that will work as a gambit. But if the situation were reversed, the Republicans would try it.

Democrats simply have to do a better job of making the Supreme Court a constant consideration of our national politics. Yes, the odds against stopping Trump’s coming nomination are formidable. But let’s not fail to leverage the educational opportunity of this political moment, which can set the stage for victory on November 6th — and beyond.

One comment on “Tomasky: Dems Must Meet Three Challenges in SCOTUS Fight

  1. Victor on

    The Democratic establishment already litigated the issue of Scotus composition in the 2016 election.

    This may work for some groups, but these are groups that are already part of the “resistance”.

    The challenge for Democrats is not doubling down on the electorate already mobilized in 2016 but expanding to those who didn’t turn out or switched.

    I have never seen a poll saying that the composition of the Supreme Court is an important issue.

    It is more likely that making the composition of Scotus an issue will favor the mobilization of evangelicals and 2nd amendment supporters.

    Liberals have mostly won the culture wars and keeping the status quo is not enough.

    We have to remember that Trump was very careful in saying that LGBT rights won’t be relitigated.


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