Why Senate Democrats need to go to war over the Supreme Court

Why Senate Democrats need to go to war over the Supreme Court
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Chuck Schumer

The latest Daily Kos/Civiqs poll shows an electorate that is increasingly pessimistic about ever having a "normal" life again, that believes Donald Trump supports white supremacists, and that thinks Trump's presidency has been worse than they expected. It's an electorate that doesn't want him to have a Supreme Court choice—particularly Democrats, who have finally placed as much importance on the Supreme Court as Republicans do. That means one thing: Senate Democrats have to fight with everything they have to delay a confirmation vote until after the election. If we're going to vote to wrest the Senate away from McConnell, we need to see them fighting for us, starting next week when Sen. Lindsey Graham is going to begin confirmation hearings.

By a seven-point margin—52-45—voters want the winner of the 2020 election and the new Senate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. That includes 90% of Democrats and 50% of independents. Not surprisingly, 91% of Republicans want this seat to go to Trump. But the key here is Democrats feels as strongly as Republicans on the issue. It's a recognition of the importance of the Supreme Court that we haven't always had on the Democratic side. Even in 2016, after Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat from President Barack Obama, Republicans were eight points likelier to say the court is a "very important" issue that Democrats, in Pew's polling. They see a flip this year, with Biden supporters five points likelier to call it "very important."

This is with voters not being all that tuned into who Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is. Whether or not she's a good choice for the seat is locked in at 43%, though Republicans are predictably lemmings in nearly unanimously calling her good—90%. With 14% unsure, including 18% of independents, Democrats have room to define her as dangerous, which she is. They have room to fight this nomination with everything they've got without having to worry about being labeled obstructionists.

Not that the label should make any difference—Democrats would cheer Sen. Chuck Schumer and team trying to burn the Senate down to stop this travesty. We want the Democrats to obstruct—"we" being every base voter and every person who sees this as a basic issue of fairness and democracy. It would only energize the base and it could very well help Democrats increase their new majority for 2021.

Even more importantly, it could save the Supreme Court. It could give the new Senate Democratic majority and White House some time to make a plan to save the courts, to undo the Trump damage. We've been through the various procedural tools Democrats have available to delay, delay, delay. They must commit now to using them all, and to figuring out what they can do in the Senate Judiciary in the meantime.


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