The (Something More Destructive Than Nuclear) Option
**TRUTH IN ADVERTSING**
I am on record as saying that I do not believe that the Republican Party should push any candidate forward prior to the 2020 election in November, but likely not for the same reason as those on the left champion and those on the extreme right fear. But I'll get into that later in this piece.
I would like to, officially, extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I know the pain of losing a family member and loved one, and after having over twenty people from my deploying unit commit suicide, I can tell you, the pain never gets easier, you just feel it less frequently. It doesn't matter that I can count on less than two hands the number of times in my adult life that I agreed with her politically, almost all unanimous decisions from the court; what does matter is that my humanity reaches out to her family's humanity, and I resonate with their feelings of loss and sadness. I pray earnestly for their relief from this pain.
Yet, with that aside, it is time to step into the reality that now faces our nation. I hope that this piece, though it be just a small and dim one, serves as a light in the darkness of the shadow of the looming civil war that appears to be fast approaching. As always, my hope is that we can pull ourselves out of the, "my way or the highway mindset," and return to a time of co-existence and compromise. Yet, I'm beginning to wonder if that is even possible.
First, lets discuss WHY there is no way for the Democrats to stop the Republicans from ramming a nominee through to the court this close to the election. In 2013, the Democrats in the Senate pushed the "nuclear" button. They lowered the threshold to secure cloture (a political mechanic that stops debate on an issue) from 60 to 51. The Republicans, in return, fired their own "nuclear" weapon in 2016 and effectively lowered the bar for ALL Presidential nominees to a simple majority (50+1) cloture. This is how they got Neil Gorsuch confirmed over the objections of the outraged Democrats who were still fuming at the Senate's blockade of Merrick Garland.
So, to be clear, both parties have skin in the game, and BOTH parties bear both burden and responsibility in this current situation. For either side to wholly blame the other is hypocritical at best.
Which leads to the current conundrum. The Democrats are attempting to take advantage of what I'm going to call the "Trump Strategy." They WANT an open seat on the court like Trump had, believing that they can use that seat to drive their voters to the polls in an attempt to take back the White House (I'll tell you why I think that's a bad idea in a moment). The Republicans appear to not want that, and more, some are worried about losing the Senate for the next two years as the vulnerable elections in THIS cycle favor the Democrats (though it'll likely flip again in two years if it does indeed flip). This would potentially place a two year open seat on the court as Trump is unlikely to nominate anyone that the Democrats would consider acceptable, and they are unlikely to confirm any originalist to the court.
Yet I believe that the above in both parties are seeing this incorrectly. In fact, I think both are seeing this 180° backwards, though I admit it's the Democrats who appear to be in a no win scenario. Maybe I should have titled this article the "Kobiashi Maru..."
You see, there is little, if ANYTHING that will drive conservative voters to the polls like abortion. The thought of an empty seat being up for grabs that could potentially undo Roe v. Wade? That is EVERY Republican strategist's dream scenario. If this seat stays open, you're looking at a red wave that will burst open the polling doors the same way that Thanksgiving Dinner bursts open Uncle Jed's button up shirt. As if voting against Harris wasn't enough incentive, this has the potential to lift down ballot candidates AND possibly prevent the overturn of the Senate. This seat staying open would be a massive gift to the Trump campaign, and it's why I don't believe that it'll be filled.
Oh don't get me wrong, there will be PLEANTY of kabuki theater. The Republicans will, publicly at least, try to push this through. They'll work to appease the hard right base while working behind the scenes with the RINOs to scuttle the whole thing. Only 4 Republican senators need to say no, and Collins, Merkowski, and Romney have already said no with no pressure applied. The public scrutiny that this is going to bring is going to fold at least one more, if not multiple others, but as I said, that's not a bad thing, and it's likely orchestrated that way behind the scenes. No, I have no, "inside sources," I'm just thinking like a politician. Kiss the baby while stealing its lollipop.
This puts the Democrats in a terrible position. Do nothing and lose both the court seat and the support of your base; or push the issue, and hand Trump the same winning hand that he rode to victory in 2016. Yes, remember, Hillary was spouting that she was going to pick someone for the court who would ensure that RvW was upheld forever, and that wasn't enough to win. They know that they're playing with fire, but what choice do they have?
The best case scenario for the Democrats is that enough people rally around the vacancy to vote Trump out of office, but most people don't vote, and they don't pay attention to court nominees, even Supreme Court ones. Which means that they'll have to figure out how to message this because JUST the vacancy on the court will be enough to bring EVERY CONSERVATIVE known to mankind out of the woodwork this time after seeing Trump deliver twice on his promise to appoint good originalist justices. The Democrats know what an open seat does for their chances, but they're holding on to the sliver of hope that it might be enough to draw their voters out. History is not on their side.
You see, my friends, with an open Supreme Court seat, there will be no #NeverTrump voters this time. There will be no 'my conscience will only let me vote for Jorgenson" voters this time. There will be something that the Democrat party hasn't truly faced since the second term of George W. Bush, or really maybe even since Reagan v. Mondale, and that's a fully and completely unified conservative bloc. Republicans, Theocrats, Federalists, Capitalists, Nationalists (not in the racist sense), Conservative Independents, and more will all throw off the chains of the one thing that has allowed the Republican Party to teeter in recent elections, and that is division.
The Democrats might succeed in blocking a nominee until next year, but it'll cost them. It's most likely that the White House will only be part of that cost.