3 Reasons the Democrats Cannot Back Down On SCOTUS

There are rumors that the Democratic leadership is considering allowing POTUS to get his SCOTUS nomination through confirmation rather than risk the GOP changing Senate rules and getting rid of the supermajority cloture requirement (60 votes on Supreme Court nominees and Senate legislation). Fox even presented a play-by-play of what would happen if the Democrats fought back (obviously self-serving).

Backing down would be a horrible miscalculation for the Democrats:

  1. By letting the SCOTUS nominee through Dems will have tipped their hand. From that point on, all the GOP will have to do is threaten to change Senate rules and Democrats will have to back down. Democrats will gain no credibility and expose that they are nothing but a Paper Tiger. After backing down this time, they might as well shutter DNC HQ and surrender. The alternative is playing out the bad hand we have been dealt and force the GOP to undercut their own legitimacy by changing Senate rules. No doubt, it is a terrible hand, but Democrats have to play it out with courage.  Who knows, during the battle over cloture some GOP members might blink (many oppose changing Senate rules). Winners-Win and Losers-lose.
  2. There is a very good chance, given recent events and the tremendous public outrage, that the GOP will face a real problem in 2018 despite having to defend only 8 seats (Democrats have to defend 23 + 2 independents). If Democrats back down now, I honestly think they risk obsolescence. If they play tough and work to galvanize and organize public outrage, Democrats could potentially hold all of their current seats and turn 8 more. This should be the ONLY goal now (winning the Senate). How could Democrats maintain any credibility after backing down immediately in a battle the GOP  just waged successfully for almost a full-year (Merrick Garland’s nomination by President Obama)? Hillary Clinton lost because registered Democrats were not motivated enough by her candidacy to vote (or did not like her), there is a very real chance that people will start looking for different alternatives if the party continues to play patsy to the GOP.
  3. For the last ten years, the GOP has been playing “dirty chess” while the DNC has been playing “polite checkers.” I am all for “when they go low we go high” in principle, but “going high” lost the Dems an election where they had a massive demographic and fundraising advantage; where they lost voter suppression debates in almost every state; where they lost Governorships throughout the country; and where they lost Union-Busting battles across the country (which ultimately turned a ton of Union members against Dems). I could go on forever (privatization, charter schools, gerrymandering). The Democrats cannot be the party of comity and survive a war. Voters respond to fighters even when they lose and hate timidity. Democrats cannot afford to be seen as asleep at the wheel any longer.

It is time to join in this street fight. We need a war-time consigliere now. The time for hubris is over, it is time for the Democratic Party to roll up its sleeves and get to work or they will reap the whirlwind. You can’t surrender on your very first real battle and survive. It may sound bad, but

We need a war-time consigliere and we need one now.

The time for hubris and niceties is over, it is time for the Democratic Party to roll up our collective sleeves and get to work. If we do not fight now we will surely reap the whirlwind. Democrats can’t surrender on our very first real battle and survive, THIS is the spirit we need right now.

Some people are saying that the Democrats should keep their powder dry for a likely upcoming second SCOTUS vacancy (Justice Kennedy or Justice Bader-Ginsburg). I think this would be a mistake, either the GOP is bluffing about changing Senate rules or they are not and that is as true today as it will be in two years. Right now, the POTUS has a tiny approval rating and right now people are marching all over the country in opposition to his agenda. Now is the time to fight.


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