Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation vote puts red state Democrats in a bind
Nine Senate Democrats are standing for reelection this year in states President Donald Trump carried in 2016: Jon Tester on Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bill Nelson of Florida.
And they could be facing the vote of their political lives when it comes to the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
So far, of those nine, Tester, Heitkamp, Nelson, Donnelly, Manchin and McCaskill have not said they will support or oppose Kavanaugh. They’ve been very quiet. For good reason.
The political left in the U.S. is having an apoplectic fit that less than two years into President Donald Trump first term of office, he has had not one but two Supreme Court picks. More than any other decision, who a president puts on the Supreme Court is often one of his most enduring legacies, as the appointments often last decades.
To them, Kavanaugh, a constitutionalist who promises to interpret the law as written represents everything they oppose—a firm, consistent, predictable rule of law within the boundaries set by the Constitution. That, as opposed to the living, breathing Constitution that will bend to the wishes of the progressive left.
The decision for these red state Democrats, said Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, is “if they are going to stand with the loony left in opposing Brett Kavanaugh, or with their constituents who will actually determine their fates in the November midterms.”
The dilemma, Manning suggested is, “If they vote against Kavanaugh, they will have a hard time holding their seats in the November midterms as their veneer as civil Democrats will be forever stripped away. If they vote for him to save their own skins, they risk dispiriting their base and jeopardizing the so-called Blue Wave as voters see President Donald Trump chalk up another win with them bearing the responsibility.”
So, what to do? Perhaps just stay quiet. Most major media outlets have not whipped the vote for the several days at least. They may be just shifting to other more pressing stories at the moment, with the Senate Judiciary Committee not set to vote until Sept. 20, with the final vote expected in the days to follow.
Still many are alarmed that Democrats are apparently not whipping the vote against Kavanaugh.
Whipthevote.org was a site set up by several left-wing organizations to monitor the Kavanaugh nomination, and they’re about as dispirited as you might expect. One of them, Indivisible.org, tweeted to their followers, “Since @SenSchumer won’t #WhipTheVote to #StopKavanaugh, we will. Call your Senator and tell them to publicly commit to vote NO…”
In other words, they believe they’re being sold out. That Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would rather hold onto those Senate seats — by letting Kavanaugh skate through the confirmation process — than to put those seats in jeopardy by pushing too hard on the question of the confirmation.
And it’s just that sort of feckless opposition that has some Democratic campaign observers concerned about the November midterms. Former Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Secretary Brian Fallon has stated that any Senate Democrats voting for Kavanaugh are “risking suppressing the historic level of enthusiasm we’re seeing right now from Democratic voters.”
So, they’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Oppose Kavanaugh, and they could help Republicans pick up seats in the Senate this year. Save their own skins, and risk the blue wave in the House in November. Choose wisely.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.