The Supreme Court vacancy initiated by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created an opportunity for Mitch McConnell to recycle a strategy used in 2018 in a desperate attempt to save himself and the GOP in 2020.
Historically, midterm elections are a struggle for the party occupying the White House, and 2018 was no exception. In the weeks leading up to the election, Trump and the GOP were in “damage control” mode as a Blue Tsunami was bearing down on the midterm election.
When all was said and done, Democrats won the House of Representatives by the largest margins since the Watergate scandal and the resignation of Republican President Richard Nixon.
Things were going so bad for the GOP at the time that Mitch McConnell openly worried that his gig as Senate Majority Leader could be coming to an end.
Many believe that one of the reasons Republicans in the Senate dodged a bullet in 2018 was the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a situation that allowed McConnell to rely on one of the most overused dog whistle issues when desperate for conservative votes: Supreme Court vacancies.
After years of Congressional capitulation to the judicial branch of government where the Supreme Court has been appointed as the sole arbiter of the Constitution, judicial appointments have become a political football where the majority party plays offense and the minority party plays defense.
Instead of making judicial appointments based on a strict adherence to the Constitution, nominations are made based on the political ideology of the party in control and how closely aligned the nominee is likely to be with that ideology.
With nothing but a track record of ineptitude to run on in 2018, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP were perfectly positioned to keep its majority in the Senate by making Kennedy’s replacement the paramount issue in November.
But just as Kennedy’s retirement most likely saved the GOP in 2018, the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg might just save the Gutless On Principles party once again — only this time, Republicans will be forced to reveal themselves for the frauds they’ve always been.
Kennedy’s retirement in 2018 was expected, but the timing was perfect for Mitch McConnell who, in order to keep his cushy leadership job after years of failure and ineptitude, needed a distraction to shift the voters’ focus away from his track record of lies and broken promises.
The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy exceeded McConnell’s expectations in that department thanks to the GOP clown show and the confirmation circus we witnessed on Capitol Hill at the time. Kavanaugh’s confirmation was allegedly held up due to several years-old accusations of sexual assault in what Trump and several members of the Senate called a politically motivated smear job.
Politically motivated smears used by politically motivated politicians for political purposes in the interest of political preservation of the two-party political duopoly? Never saw that one coming.
With only weeks to go before the 2020 election, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the GOP are once again in damage control mode. The broken promises have continued. Trumps approval numbers are still historically low. Republicans still lack any discernable policy outcomes worthy of earning our vote. And another Blue Tsunami looks to be bearing down, this time on the Senate.
Now, replace Kennedy’s name with Ginsburg’s and you get a picture of what’s motivating the GOP heading into 2020.
Trump released his first list of potential Supreme Court nominees in 2017 — a list he had to “modify” to nominate Kavanaugh — and he recently bribed conservatives with a new Top 20 for 2020 list of potential nominees.
Trump hasn’t named his nominee yet — he says he’ll do it at the end of the week — but Republicans have already implemented the 2018 campaign strategy by moving the Supreme Court vacancy to the top of their priority list, promising to proceed with a vote even if it needs to take place after Trump loses the presidential election.
Will it be the “strict constructionist” we were promised but never received when Kavanaugh was nominated? This is Donald Trump we’re talking about. so it’s a 50-50 proposition at best.
The judiciary was designed by the Founding Fathers to be the weakest branch of government; the real power is supposed to belong to “we the people” via the legislative branch and the individual states. In post-Constitutional America, unelected judges have taken that power from us.
But none of that matters to Republican “leadership” because nearly every member of the Republican Party is devoid of conservative values.
Neither Trump nor the GOP care anything about “saving” the courts or returning America to a Constitutional Republic; they only care about saving their jobs. And it looks like the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg might help them do so.
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.