Mitch McConnell is Not a Smart Man
News at 11.
About 1 hour after Justice Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senator McConnell announced that the nomination of Scalia’s replacement should go to the next president, instead of the sitting president. Contrary to, well, everything.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” — Senator Mitch McConnell
Let’s ignore the part where the “American people” elected the current president of these united states. I’m more interested in how this nomination process will affect the November elections assuming the senate chooses to not confirm any Obama nomination for the supreme court.
Who Is Motivated Right Now?
Republicans — or more accurately, the political right.
After eight years of Obama (thanks Obama), the Republican base is motivated. Highly motivated. They want to win back the White House more than anything. Oh, there’s a potential SCOTUS nomination? Cool. That’s just adding a twig to an already raging fire of desire to win this election. It’s a cherry on top.
From an economist's view, not much in the way of marginal improvement.
Who Isn’t All That Motivated Right Now?
Democrats — or more accurately, the political left.
After eight years of Obama, the left is feeling pretty good about things — compared to the raging fire of desire the left had back in 2008.
And that’s how election cycles work in this country. If you’ve ever worked for a political campaign or in gotv efforts, you understand how difficult it is to create energy when your team has been winning lately.
(Yes, many people on the left are feeling the bern and are energized about that. However, many of those same people look at HRC with disdain.)
For the Supreme Court. The left really wasn’t happy with Citizens United and the Voting Rights Act decisions. The left, more than the right, looks at the supreme court as a way to get policy implemented.
Citizens United polls terribly among all categories of voters. The left can make this an issue during this election. “Vote Bernie/HRC and overturn Citizens United — get money out of politics.” A fairly simple, powerful message that both independents and moderate dems can relate to. And certainly one that will energize the base.
And then there is Roe v Wade. Always an issue the left can use to energize their base. Roe v Wade has broad support and it isn’t going to be overturned by replacing Scalia with another conservative justice, however, the message the left could use is if the next president nominates (and gets confirmed) a younger justice, they can ensure the right to choice for decades. Decades.
In Other Words…
If you’re a democrat campaign worker attempting to foment energy in your base to get out the vote, having the Republican senate block your president from filling a supreme court seat in the months leading up to an election would be a Really Amazing Gift. You’d be happy. Ecstatic. You win with turnout, not persuasion of undecideds. This gives you more turnout.
At the margin, this SCOTUS opening would increase turnout for the left more than it would for the right. At. The. Margin.
Your move Senators.
Here are some related articles:
Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, there was instant and near unanimous agreement…nymag.com
In less insane times, the death of an elderly Supreme Court justice would lead to the president nominating a qualified…www.slate.com
WASHINGTON A Supreme Court nomination battle that was ignited on Saturday with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia has…www.reuters.com