As the 2020 election draws near, Republicans are engaged in another game of distraction to hide the lack of discernable policy accomplishments over the past four years by demonizing the far-left agenda of the Democrat Party. But trying to differentiate Donald Trump and the GOP from Joe Biden and the Democrats is like arguing the difference between tomayto and tomahto.
The tool used most often in their tomayto or tomahto distraction strategy begins with recycling the lies and broken promises of past campaigns followed by pleas for conservatives to “Vote Republican because #notDemocrat and #notSocialist, even though Trump, GOP cowards, the Fellowship of the Pharisees, and the faux-conservative media have worked together to completely destroy conservatism.
During this election cycle, Mitch McConnell has promised to be the “Grim Reaper” for socialism, even though he and his Republican cohorts are directly responsible for the rise of socialist ideology. And a small band of eight faux conservatives in the House created the House Anti-Socialism Caucus designed to “inform lawmakers and the public on the dangers of socialism and to stand as a bulwark to stop the advancement of socialist policies and legislation.”
Unfortunately for Republicans, their anti-socialism strategy has been unsuccessful as one poll after another shows Trump losing BIGLY to Biden and the GOP. losing their majority in the Senate, and leaving them desperate to find some way to avoid losing the White House and the Senate in another Blue Tsunami.
Trump and the GOP believe they found a way with the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Supreme Court vacancy created by Ginsburg’s passing presented Mitch McConnell with the opportunity to recycle a strategy he used in 2018 to minimized Republican losses in the midterm election. That’s the year Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retired, and McConnell used the vacancy on the high court to blow one of the most overused dog whistle issues when Republicans are desperate for conservative votes: Supreme Court appointments.
This led to Trump appointing Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ginsburg’s seat, and despite her questionable credentials as a strict constructionist, Barrett’s nomination is being fast-tracked through the confirmation process in hopes of having her confirmed before the election.
That’s just one way Trump and the GOP are keeping the Supreme Court in the headlines; Joe Biden has given them another one.
Biden’s ability to avoid controversy has allowed the focus to remain on Trump and recent revelations about his disastrous response to the pandemic, his years of tax evasion, and his arms-length embrace of white supremacists.
Recently, however, Biden has been dodging a Trump-manufactured question about whether-or-not he supports expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court, a policy sometimes referred to as “court packing.”
#WeDeserveToKnow Joe Biden's position on packing the Supreme Court.
Get it trending!
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) October 10, 2020
For the record, I don’t support Biden nor the idea of expanding the number of justices. So, save me your emails. Neither do I support the attempt by Trump and the GOP to turn this hypothetical question into a “squirrel” to hide their record of failures.
In true tomayto, tomahto fashion, Trump has been just as evasive when it comes to providing details on real issues — as we learn from Judd Legum in the recent edition of his Popular Information newsletter.
Trump and Pence both claim the administration has a “plan” to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions if they are successful in their lawsuit to strike down Obamacare. But neither has said anything about what they plan to do.
Trump is also promising a new tax cut, but has released no plans or proposals.
BIGGEST TAX CUT EVER, AND ANOTHER ONE COMING. VOTE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
Most dramatically, neither Trump nor Pence will say whether they support a peaceful transfer of power following the November election.
Back to the Supreme Court distraction, Trump and the GOP aren’t only using Amy Coney Barrett to hide four years of failure, Judd Legum shows us how their “concern” about Joe Biden wanting to change the number of justices wasn’t all that troubling before Trump.
In 2016, Republicans were anticipating a victory by Hillary Clinton. [They planned] to prevent Clinton from filling the vacancy created by the death of Anthony Kennedy — or any other vacancies during her term — by shrinking the court.
Among those who were open to shrinking the court was Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Here’s how his remarks were covered in The Washington Post on October 26, 2016:
Speaking to reporters after a campaign rally for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said that there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices — appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election.
“You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” said Cruz, when he was asked whether a Republican-controlled Senate should hold votes on a President Hillary Clinton’s nominees. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices.”
Speaking this weekend on Fox News, Cruz said that changing the number of justices on the Supreme Court would “politicize it” and “destroy its independence.”
In 2016, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said it was his intention to keep the Supreme Court at eight justices for four years. “[I]f Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” Burr said.
Even the late-Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who was venerated by the media as a moderate and an institutionalist, said he supported keeping the Supreme Court at eight justices during a potential Clinton presidency.
At a debate on October 10th, Senator John McCain, of Arizona, said flatly, “I would much rather have eight Supreme Court Justices than a [ninth] Justice who is liberal.” A week later, in a radio interview, he made that a “promise,” telling listeners that “we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were President, would put up.”
This position was also advocated by the Heritage Foundation, one of the most influential think tanks on the right.
Dan Holler, Heritage Action’s vice president of communications and government relations, signaled that this year’s Republican blockade of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, is just the beginning of a fight that could last the entire first term of a Clinton presidency.
“You’ve seen John McCain and others talk about the need to not confirm any liberal nominated to the Supreme Court,” Holler said. “That’s exactly the right position to have.”
Today, the Heritage Foundation says changing the number of justices on the Supreme Court would be “devastating to our Republic.”
Republicans are hoping Biden’s reluctance to answer the Supreme Court question will expose the far-left extremism of the Democrats, but in another example of tomayto, tomahto politics, they’re exposing the far-left extremism of the Democrat with an “R” after his name currently in the White House and leading the ticket in 2020.
In reality, Trump and the GOP have become so much like Biden and the Democrats that they have positioned themselves to the left of the Democrat nominee on many issues, prompting some to consider Biden the “moderate” Democrat alternative to Trump in 2020.
I leave you with this tweet from my friend, Daniel Horowitz:
Every day conservatives invest their energy in the Republican Party is a wasted day.
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) June 29, 2020
Why is it a waste? Tomayto, tomahto.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.