The Seat is Lost, The Election Isn’t

The Daily Escape:

Fall comes to Grand Portage, MN –September 2020 photo by Valjcoo

We now know that the Republicans have the votes to confirm another conservative Supreme Court justice before the election. Mitt Romney announced Tuesday that he supports moving forward with a Senate vote on Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This means that Democrats have no shot at stopping the confirmation process before November’s election.

More tyranny by the minority. This might as well also be Romney’s announcement that for better or for worse, he’s running for president in 2024.

Substantively, a 5-3 conservative vs. liberal breakdown on the Supreme Court was already going to result in the death of the ACA when the justices hear the case on November 10. So, a 6-3 division probably doesn’t mean that we’re going to be all that much worse off, legally.

The remaining question is whether the nominee will be the Cuban-American judge from Florida. Choosing her will probably secure the state for Trump in November, so why not just go ahead and make the entire Supreme Court a political fiasco?

In fact, getting the complete conservative takeover of the Supreme Court done before the election may keep more than a few Trumpists away from the polls on November 3d.

Choosing an ideologically pure judge is far more important to Republicans than it is to Dems, who rarely make it an article of faith in our elections. During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, the Dems will take the opportunity to demonstrate again how ineffectual they are.

They need to be careful not to engage in something suicidal just before what is truly the most important election in our lifetimes. As Wrongo has said, the loss of this seat was predetermined by Hillary’s loss in 2016.

Of course Democrats should drill deeply into whomever the Republicans nominate; that’s how the game is played.  Of course they should oppose the nominee in the Judiciary Committee, and then lose by a straight-party vote. Of course they should make principled speeches in the well of the Senate before they lose another straight party line vote that will confirm Trump’s nominee.

They should scream about it, say the gloves are off, and then go out and take the White House and the Senate.

Dems need to get back to the totally mismanaged COVID response. It’s the overriding issue of this election, even more significant than the death of Ginsburg. There will be at least 250,000 COVID deaths by the time of the election, and no Republican cares or will say anything about it.

Dems need to get back to asking if Trump has delivered a better life to us. He hasn’t. There were no big wage gains, and no 5% annual GDP growth. He’s only delivered huge unemployment, and unnecessary deaths. The rich have gotten enormously richer, and there is the hate, and all of the lies.

But the Electoral College still looms large. Wrongo’s former colleague is driving across America on the back roads, photographing what he sees. And what he sees is mostly empty spaces. As he moves from urban and suburban areas to exurban and rural areas, the Biden signs disappear, Trump signs dominate, and finally become exclusive. He documents front yards with temporary canopies set up to hand out Trump paraphernalia. Pickups looking ISIS-like with Trump and American flags flying from poles mounted in the truck beds. Here’s a photo of his taken in Virginia City, NV on 9/20:

September 2020 photo by OHeldring

The flags are for Trump, the Kansas City Chiefs, and “Don’t Tread on Me.” Add in the vintage Ford, and it’s an ordinary day in rural America!

An important indicator for November 3d will be voter participation in rural areas, which we should expect to be very high. This November, Wyoming will cast three Electoral College votes, one for every 190,000 residents, while California will cast 55 votes, or one for every 715,000 residents. One person, one vote has died. Here’s Steve Coll with some perspective about the Electoral College:

“The system is so buggy that, between 1800 and 2016….members of Congress introduced more than eight hundred constitutional amendments to fix its technical problems or to abolish it altogether.”

He reminds us that in 1969, the House passed a Constitutional Amendment to establish a national popular vote for the White House. At the time, Nixon called it “a thoroughly acceptable reform”. Alas, it was filibustered by Southern Senate segregationists.

These days, just two words sum up the state we’re in: “Stay Safe.”

It only took four years for Trump to wreck everything. Whenever the Trump years pass, our democracy, assuming that it endures, needs a major repair job.

That starts on November 3.

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