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The Garland Silence

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To expand on Paul’s post below, there is obviously no chance that Merrick Garland is going to get a hearing — let alone be confirmed — before the election. And even if Clinton wins with a Democratic Senate, it is still highly, highly unlikely that he would get confirmed by a lame duck Senate. To give you the tl; dr version, the argument that he will be confirmed is superficially plausible — Garland is the best Republicans could get, so why not confirm him? But the problem is that it’s flatly inconsistent with how the Republican Senate conference has consistently acted in the McConnell era. Again and again and again, they’ve passed up the chance to make marginal policy gains in favor of total obstruction. Any Republican who voted to confirm Garland would be subject to attacks within the party and be vulnerable to a primary challenge. There’s no reason to believe that the typical Republican senator would be willing to take that risk to get a justice who votes with Ruth Bader Ginsburg 87% of the time rather than 95% of the time. And remember also that in the very tight time frame of the lame duck session there would have to be a near-consensus among the Republican Party to allow the nomination to proceed. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that such a consensus exists, and it would be remarkable for the the Senate GOP to break with their long-standing practices for a relatively minor substantive benefit.

I do, however, think that the radio silence at the DNC about Garland is interesting in itself. It’s striking that the Democrats didn’t even try to make an issue out of the unprecedented obstruction of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. But I don’t think this has anything to do with signaling Congress or anything. Rather, what it tells you is that Merrick Garland has no particular constituency within the party. I can’t prove the counterfactual, but I find it hard to believe that if Paul Watford or Tino Cuellar had been the nominee nobody would have tried to make an issue of it. The Republicans obstructing Watford or Cuellar would have allowed the Democrats to combine several themes — the diversity of their coalition, the intolerance of the Republicans, the importance of the Supreme Court — to create a narrative that might have been useful to the candidates in marginal Senate races. With Garland, however, the only story you can tell is a procedural one about obstruction — and nobody actually cares about that. Since there was never any chance that Obama could get a replacement for Scalia confirmed, the only thing that mattered was the politics. And the politics didn’t make sense at the time and they still don’t.

Between Kaine’s inept flailing on the Hyde Amendment and the absence of Garland from the DNC, I wouldn’t say this has been a great week for theories about the political benefits that allegedly accrue from picking bland white guys.

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  • I think the tell here is that Garland is the best that the Republicans could get, so why keep him in the game if Hillary wins with a Democratic Senate? I would fully expect Obama to pull him from the nomination as a “you had your chance” slap at the Republicans.

    • timb

      He won’t do that. Whatever you think of Obama or realpolitik, he made promises to Garland, like all White Houses do in this hyper-partisan day, and one of them wasn’t “I’ll ditch you if Hillary wins.” I mean, if you’re Garland wouldn’t you have demanded at least that?

      • DAS

        It depends. Garland may very well have understood his role, and known that he would never get renominated.

      • Either way, it still shifts the court to the left. Garland is certainly to the left of Scalia.

      • TopsyJane

        Garland wasn’t really in a position to make demands, as people here pointed out (to me, as it happens) at the time. In normal circumstances he wouldn’t have been chosen. He was selected, aside from his obvious qualifications, specifically to make the GOP look bad, and a lot of people thought that was a savvy move at the time. If Obama withdraws the nomination – as I think he should unless something changes electorally – Garland will be pretty much back where he started. None of this reflects on him. HRC should be able to pick her own nominee and who knows, it might just be Garland, although I hope it isn’t.

  • Nobdy

    Bland white guy picks aren’t for you. I’m not saying they are good politics, but the fact that they don’t excite you says nothing about that either. They are supposed to comfort ‘moderates’ not dudes with lefty blogs.

    I think Garland wasn’t mentioned because it has nothing to do with Trump. It says something about the Republican party establishment, but Trump isn’t part of that. How do you use Garland to attack Trump?

    • Scott Lemieux

      My argument had nothing to do with whether the picks excited me personally.

      I think Garland wasn’t mentioned because it has nothing to do with Trump.

      Well, yes, but Watford or Cuellar certainly would have. That’s the point! There’s no story you can tell about Garland that can extract any political price from Republican obstruction.

      • PhoenixRising

        You’re assuming that there is a way to add votes there based on a narrative tying SCOTUS pick/GOP obstruction to Trump. What I’m disputing, and I think the above may intend, is the premise that anyone who didn’t already think Trump was a racist bully demagogue who threatens the republic would be persuaded by such a narrative.

        Shorter: Trump himself and the GOP primary haven’t just carried that water, they have re-routed the stream to the point where Dems can pick up votes by deliberately including bland white men.

        That is my explanation for both picks, which differ in their anticipated fates but I agree happened for the same reason.

      • Nobdy

        Garland was picked so that Democratic senate candidates can say of individual opponents that they are so radical that they wouldn’t even confirm bland nonthreatening Merrick Garland. That doesn’t seem to speak to you but it could, in theory, speak to some people.

        I disagree with your premise that Watford or Cellar could effictively be used against Trump because it would just be piling on. Trump has provided plenty of ammunition on the issue of race and nationality. Anyone who cares about those issues is voting against him. Tying him to the Senate obstruction is pointless when you can just point out he said he wanted to build a wall and that he can’t be judged by a Mexican American.

        Your criticism of Tim Kaine relies on voters feeling about the Hyde Amendment the way you do (otherwise it is just a criticism of bad messaging which can happen to anyone.) Tim Kaine is meant to appeal to squishy moderates who might be a bit uncomfortable on abortion.

        Will it work? I think not. But the fact that hardcore liberals find it distasteful isn’t important. They won’t be alienated in this election anyway.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Garland was picked so that Democratic senate candidates can say of individual opponents that they are so radical that they wouldn’t even confirm bland nonthreatening Merrick Garland.

          Is there any evidence at all its working? Why was he completely ignored at the DNC if it’s a resonant message?

          otherwise it is just a criticism of bad messaging which can happen to anyone.

          But this is exactly the point. The whole rationale for picking Kaine is that while there might be better nominees on the merits because of his experience he wouldn’t make the kind of mistakes he in fact made.

          • Nobdy

            The DNC was totally focused on Trump vs. Hillary.

            As for whether the message is working I have no idea. I don’t think so and I think it is because it has been going on so long people have lost interest. But I am not in a state with a real senate contest so I cannot be sure.

            I do not think Kaine was selected because he was very seasoned. I think he was selected because A) he has good chemistry with Hillary; B) he is potentially reassuring to semi conservative white people who would be uncomfortable with a ticket with no white man on it (something Biden did for Obama); C) swing state.

            B is what is relevant here and I don’t think the Hyde mini-gaffe says anything about it. He is America’s doofy dad there to make you feel comfortable that this is still an America that is comfortable for moderate whites and not a radical America run entirely by women and minorities.

          • efgoldman

            But this is exactly the point. The whole rationale for picking Kaine is that while there might be better nominees on the merits….

            How does re-litigating Kaine over a gaffe that no-one’s going to remember or care about in a week square with your correct and often-repeated statement that the VP pick doesn’t really matter electorally unless s/he’s an obvious disaster (Caribou Barbie).

            • PhoenixRising

              Irrelevant because the rationale for Kaine over qualified men of color in their mid-40s was never ‘campaign experience’. It was and remains biography.

              The fact that Kaine is the *kind* of bland white guy who was able to knock a racist bully out of the Senate, in VA the ancestral home of said racist bully to which he came as a carpetbagger marrying into a GOP family dynasty, made him more qualified than whoever else you can name…but that’s a very particularized version of ‘experienced’.

              It’s bizarre to me that there is debate about this, on a blog that ran several Tbogg units each on any post in which anyone even suggested the premise of Democrats needing to include white men–not centrist sellouts to basic principles, but straight white men–got an immediate pile-on.

              ‘Sanders is NOT either attractive to white men for demographic reasons, and you’re a racist vagina voter to suggest that he might be picking up support from non-voters or likely R’ was typed so many times I don’t even have time to find them all, plus which Pokemon Go would be better for my cardiovascular system.

              There is a place for bland white dudes who have done the work of promoting better outcomes for the rest of us–that’s what both picks were set up to communicate.

              • Scott Lemieux

                My arguments for preferring Perez were not about political impact. I’m pointing out that the counterarguments based on Kaine’s (mythical) political advantages aren’t very strong.

              • djw

                was able to knock a racist bully out of the Senate

                It was an open seat.

                • Duvall

                  It was an open seat.

                  Keep a racist bully from returning to the Senate seat he once held, then.

              • It’s bizarre to me that there is debate about this, on a blog that ran several Tbogg units each on any post in which anyone even suggested the premise of Democrats needing to include white men–not centrist sellouts to basic principles, but straight white men–got an immediate pile-on.

                ‘Sanders is NOT either attractive to white men for demographic reasons, and you’re a racist vagina voter to suggest that he might be picking up support from non-voters or likely R’ was typed so many times I don’t even have time to find them all, plus which Pokemon Go would be better for my cardiovascular system.

                I’m trying to decipher this but I keep on falling onto the ground and shouting “ia! ia!”

          • snarkout

            Might be working for Patty Judge, who is probably going to lose but whom polling says is putting together the best race against Chuck Grassley in literally 30 years, even as Clinton is apparently (currently) running behind Trump in Iowa.

            (Edit to add — also, Garland was nominated in mid-March, when Cruz might still have seemed like a viable candidate. Insurance policy?)

          • FlipYrWhig

            because of his experience he wouldn’t make the kind of mistakes he in fact made.

            That doesn’t sound like the “whole rationale” for Kaine at all. I think the whole rationale for Kaine was to solidify Virginia and to be interesting on the trail (blue collar upbringing, social justice/faith crossover, Spanish ability, impish wit). I don’t remember anyone saying that the rationale for Kaine was that he’d be mistake-proof.

            • Pat

              ‘Cause if the rationale was that we had to have someone who was mistake-proof, we wouldn’t have anyone at all.

          • The DNC, for better or worse, assiduously avoided attacking the Republican party or Republican officials in general, in favor of presenting Trump as a truly alien deviation from even Republican norms.

    • Nick056

      Right. The thing is: Scott personally prefers Booker and a non-Garland for the respective appointments. But “I disagree with Obama because if I were elected I would do it different” is not insightful. So it gets couched in these “political effects” arguments and tropes so that Scott appears to be writing instead of typing.

      (Okay, that was harsh. But I *prefer* Kaine to Booker, so, I’ll be a little harsh.)

      • Scott Lemieux

        So it gets couched in these “political effects” arguments and tropes so that Scott appears to be writing instead of typing.

        This is just bullshit. Again, the substantive merits of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee are essentially irrelevant because he or she is not getting confirmed. The only thing that matters is the “political effects.”

        As for the argument that it’s “just typing” or inherently “not insightful” to discuss the merits of nominees, it’s transparently idiotic. These are obviously matters of political interest and dispute, and people interested in politics discuss them all the time.

        • Nick056

          Again, the substantive merits of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee are essentially irrelevant because he or she is not getting confirmed.

          […]

          As for the argument that it’s “just typing” or inherently “not insightful” to discuss the merits of nominees, it’s transparently idiotic.

          First, I said I didn’t say it’s not insightful to discuss the merits of nominees. That would be idiotic. I said it was just typing to point that you are personally not excited by Garland, but I basically believe that’s motivating your largely pretextual arguments about the political effects of his nomination relative to someone else. What I do think is idiotic, is the idea that the substantive merits are pointless to discuss. Again: you find the pick lackluster so the substantive discussion bores you, is my read. If he picked Kozinski (or someone whose perspective you thought was worth talking about) you’d be talking substance.

          • Scott Lemieux

            First, I said I didn’t say it’s not insightful to discuss the merits of nominees. That would be idiotic. I said it was just typing to point that you are personally not excited by Garland, but I basically believe that’s motivating your largely pretextual arguments about the political effects of his nomination relative to someone else. What I do think is idiotic, is the idea that the substantive merits are pointless to discuss. Again: you find the pick lackluster so the substantive discussion bores you, is my read. If he picked Kozinski (or someone whose perspective you thought was worth talking about) you’d be talking substance.

            This entire graf is the definition of “just typing” with no insight. It’s all just silly, baseless speculation about my motives with no content. What substantive conversation am I avoiding? It’s certainly not to be found in any of your comments.

            Baseless, and in fact false. I haven’t shied away from expressing a view of Garland on the merits. As I wrote when he was nominated, I think that a 63-year-old with a rather terrible record on civil liberties for a Democratic nominee would obviously be a lousy pick on the merits. I haven’t focused on that because there’s very little risk of him being confirmed, but if you do think there’s a risk that makes the pick even worse.

            At any rate, I’ve made arguments about why Garland would be a poor pick if evaluated on the merits, I’ve made arguments about why he’s extremely unlikely to be confirmed, and I’ve made arguments about why there’s no political benefit to picking him. If you have any actual argument about any of these points, make it and skip the wankery. (Note: your trademark routine about how it’s “just typing” to discuss any aspect of a controversy where you take a position you’d prefer not to actually defend on the merits doesn’t count as an “argument.”)

            • liberalrob

              At any rate, I’ve made arguments about why Garland would be a poor pick if evaluated on the merits, I’ve made arguments about why he’s extremely unlikely to be confirmed, and I’ve made arguments about why there’s no political benefit to picking him.

              I think all of those arguments have been well-reasoned.

              With Garland, however, the only story you can tell is a procedural one about obstruction — and nobody actually cares about that.

              Well, maybe but I think that was the only story the Obama Administration was trying to tell. “Look, we nominated the most acceptable person in terms of what we think appeals to Republicans that we could find and still stomach, and they still won’t confirm him.” Given the assumption that your nominee is guaranteed not to be confirmed no matter who it is, why waste a nomination of someone you’d truly like to see on the SC? Doesn’t being nominated and not confirmed hurt your chances of that person being confirmed the second time around, after circumstances change and you renominate them? “We already looked at this person once.” Yeah, I know, not really, but this is DC and reality is subject to interpretation…

              • Scott Lemieux

                Well, maybe but I think that was the only story the Obama Administration was trying to tell.

                This is entirely possible. My point is just that this story never had any chance of working.

            • Nick056

              So for the record: you think the substantive merits are irrelevant because he won’t be nominated, but when I say that’s not true regarding a discussion of his merits, you reply that you’ve made lengthy arguments about Garland’s substantive merits. It’s hard to argue with you when you take as many positions as a clock face has numbers.

              If you’re saying that here I’m doing nothing more than impugning your motives, well, you’re right, and I’ll own that, but I’m not the only one in this comment section doing so.

              Finally, I don’t really think I have a “trademark routine” and if I didn’t like your writing I wouldn’t bother to comment on it, but I’m also not sure what position you think I don’t want to defend. I think Garland was a fine pick and politically smart one. As people said, the GOP looked intransigent again. That was the point.

              • Scott Lemieux

                So for the record: you think the substantive merits are irrelevant he won’t be nominated

                I didn’t say that. I said I have spent less time on them because he’s unlikely to be confirmed.

                you reply that you’ve made lengthy arguments about Garland’s substantive merits. It’s hard to argue with you when you take as many positions as a clock face has numbers.

                Since I never said “lengthy,” your attempt to manufacture a contradiction out of thin air collapses. Not only are they not contradictory, they’re perfectly logical in combination. If someone is unlikely to be confirmed — and all evidence so far suggests that I am correct about that — then the politics are more important than the merits. Which doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t talk about the merits. It’s not complicated.

  • cleek

    Kaine’s inept flailing on the Hyde Amendment

    which is still not actually proved.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Sure it is. He knew this morning what had been said before. He had to know how reiterating support for the amendment with nothing about supporting the party’s platform would look.

      • liberalrob

        Maybe the inept flailing is a consequence of genuinely being conflicted?

        And what the heck, nobody bats 1.000. Let us move on. Kaine’s principal job is to beat Pence in the VP debate.

  • Crusty

    Its official. Scott is making way too big a deal about Kaine.

    • sapient

      Kaine Derangement Syndrome? Who would have thought that would be a thing.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Maybe something milder, like “Kaine Perturbation Syndrome,” would be an appropriate term.

        • dmsilev

          The Kaine Perturbation was definitely not one of Robert Ludlum’s better books.

          • Pat

            hee hee

            • liberalrob

              I’m amazed no one’s called this “The Kaine Mutiny.” Slackers.

              • Ahuitzotl

                they’re too busy eating that pint of strawberries

      • Nick056

        *cue sad harmonica solo*

    • Scott Lemieux

      Note: this post had one half-sentence about Kaine. Methinks you protest etc.

      • Crusty

        That it had any at all is evidence of your derangement.

        • timb

          Look, at the risk of being a Scott apologist (there’s a club, with dues and officers), he mentioned Kaine in passing to tie two posts together

        • Scott Lemieux

          That it had any at all is evidence of your derangement.

          This is like Freddie deBoer-level crackpottery. I assume the comment about how for years 30% of this blog’s posts have consisted of attacking Tim Kaine is imminent.

          • Crusty

            Nope, just that you’re making too big a deal of the impact of the Kaine pick one way or another and that you’re projecting your personal disappointment onto others.

            Talk about protesting too much, sheesh.

            • Nick056

              Bingo.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Yes, these 8 words were sure a making a five-alarm federal case about it. I ain’t the one projecting here.

              • Crusty

                Projecting? You keep using that word…

  • PhoenixRising

    The importance of sending the message ‘We still welcome you in our party as long as you’re cool’ cannot be reduced to whether any other nominee would have been treated differently. Or had more noise made about her/him.

    Tim Kaine is a member of a black church and fluent in Spanish and spent his early law career suing on behalf of black families. Setting a mark for straight white men right there at that spot–you are part of the coalition of the decent, patriotic and cool people who want to take this country forward–is critical to getting the electoral success that gets the GOP away from the gavel.

    A Democratic Party in which ‘bland white guys’ who meet the test of being more progressive than Bill Clinton, measured by past actions not current talk, are welcome to be on the masthead is a party that will be more appealing to the persuadable. Because these particular white guys break the tribal alignment that Trump tries to impose on us, by demonstrating loyalty to concepts of justice and liberty that do not apply to their own personal selves, they push back against the accusation that the left side of the political spectrum is rooted in identity politics.

    tl;dr: Straight white men embody diversity of identity which is a huge club to beat the GOP with. I am very happy to have lived long enough to see the particular straight white men forced to conform to a litmus test of my ideal policy preferences rather than the contrapositive that once was…

    • Philip

      Because these particular white guys break the tribal alignment that Trump tries to impose on us, by demonstrating loyalty to concepts of justice and liberty that do not apply to their own personal selves, they push back against the accusation that the left side of the political spectrum is rooted in identity politics.

      tl;dr: Straight white men embody diversity of identity which is a huge club to beat the GOP with. I am very happy to have lived long enough to see the particular straight white men forced to conform to a litmus test of my ideal policy preferences rather than the contrapositive that once was…

      +1. And as a straight cis white dude, it’s been reassuring to me that many of my fellow formerly-default-Americans have gotten on board.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Missed this the first few times through the thread. Good stuff!

    • Drexciya

      The importance of sending the message ‘We still welcome you in our party as long as you’re cool’ cannot be reduced to whether any other nominee would have been treated differently. Or had more noise made about her/him.

      Tim Kaine is a member of a black church and fluent in Spanish and spent his early law career suing on behalf of black families. Setting a mark for straight white men right there at that spot–you are part of the coalition of the decent, patriotic and cool people who want to take this country forward–is critical to getting the electoral success that gets the GOP away from the gavel.

      A Democratic Party in which ‘bland white guys’ who meet the test of being more progressive than Bill Clinton, measured by past actions not current talk, are welcome to be on the masthead is a party that will be more appealing to the persuadable. Because these particular white guys break the tribal alignment that Trump tries to impose on us, by demonstrating loyalty to concepts of justice and liberty that do not apply to their own personal selves, they push back against the accusation that the left side of the political spectrum is rooted in identity politics.

      tl;dr: Straight white men embody diversity of identity which is a huge club to beat the GOP with. I am very happy to have lived long enough to see the particular straight white men forced to conform to a litmus test of my ideal policy preferences rather than the contrapositive that once was…

      Promoting a white person who can play ethnically hip to other white people isn’t the same as inclusion, it isn’t the same as offering a substantive commitment to inclusion and it does a disservice to the groups the Democratic party relies on for influence to imply that mere proximity to people of color bears some moral or substantive relation to their actual representation. Changing the meaning of diversity to present the choice of yet another white guy at the head of an all-white ticket is a bit much for my tastes, and I think those who want to praise Kaine should and can do so without cementing the “one Good White = a whole brown person” calculation.

      Also, for what it’s worth, straight white people get much more than enough pandering, and a willingness to signal compatibility with a progressive vision that’s not rooted in/responsive to what’s reductively defined as “identity politics” is a statement about what and who’s politically valued. A willingness to run away from identity politics isn’t a sign of an inclusive moral vision so much as it tells us who and what the Democratic Party sees as disposable, and to what extent. And that’s fine, it’s a decently smart political choice, but we don’t have to overstate its progressive content to acknowledge that. White people/moderates are, afterall, the only ones with an actual choice in this election. We don’t have to call the Democratic Party “good” just because it acknowledged that, decided to respond to it and felt that because POC are stuck, they could afford not to further cement our presence in the party.

  • Anna in PDX

    Hmmm, this seems like 11 dimensional chess to me? Which I guess I am able to believe that the Dems can do it – but the GOP cannot, and I am not sure that Dems can assume GOP will behave in the way it is being gamed out here. Because it’s too rational and goes against the rhetoric too much given the timing. (IOW, pretty much agreeing with Scott I guess)

  • Gee Suss

    I think Scott’s right about this, mostly (there’s no constituency for Garland within the party and it would have been jarring to put Garland in with the other themes of the DNC). Here’s the thing: the Democrats have not been hitting the Republicans in the Senate on this obstruction at all. They make some occasional noises, but if this we’re a flipped situation, Fox News would have a counter of how many days the SC has been without a full bench, the Senate would grind to a halt, stories would come out daily on how this broke all the rules. Instead we get… Blogposts?

    I also think Obama thought this would put the squeeze on the Republicans. I believe it shows he still thinks they can act rationally.
    ETA: I will keep saying this: there is no political downside to the Republicans to block this nomination.

    • JKTH

      This isn’t exactly the kind of thing that is media-friendly since nothing is happening so there’s nothing to report on. It’d be cool if Obama could have a revolving door of nominees so there would be continued media coverage but there isn’t. Democrats could be a bit more vocal but it’s really just an uphill battle.

      And yeah, there’s no downside and I doubt there would be any for doing it next year either.

    • addicted44

      Actually, you unwittingly make a really good point. The biggest issue with the Garland thing is that it’s kind of a procedural issue. The vast majority of voters don’t actually know what the “correct” position on this situation is. Which is why it’s important that non interested members, i.e. the press, have to make the argument that the unprecedented blocking of Garland’s nomination, purely for political reasons, even after the Grassley said that Garland was the type of judge Obama would not nominate shows that the Republican Senators are not fit to perform their roles. It’s difficult for Democrats to do this.

      Of course, the media doesn’t give a shit. If roles were reversed, Fox News would have been making this argument for the Republicans, and it would have worked.

      To Fox News’s credit, despite their obvious partisan bias, they are at least willing to step away from the nonsensical “He said, she said” framework the rest of the media has adopted wholesale. This gives the Republicans a massive media advantage the Dems simply do not have a counter for.

      • Gee Suss

        It’s the job of the Democrats to point out to the citizens how unprecedented and obstructionist the Republicans are; even how irrational they are. It should be the media who do this, but they aren’t worth a sack of warm spit when it comes to calling out the Republicans.

        I don’t know if Obama truly wants Garland, or if the party does, but if you’d told me when he was nominated that he would still be in limbo and no one would be talking about it, I would’ve been surprised. It really feels like it was a move that Obama thought would embarrass the Republicans, or that would gain him some support from the right. This has been Obama’s problem from the get-go: he thinks the Republicans are capable of compromise.

  • libarbarian

    Why .. they were ALMOST as silent on Garland as you were on Matt Bruenig!!!

    SHAME!!!!!!!

    :)

    • Anon21

      What are you talking about?

    • Nick056

      I think Matt wound up getting a raw deal, which is an opinion I changed from my first take.

      But this comparison is nonsensical.

  • FlipYrWhig

    I wouldn’t say this has been a great week for theories about the political benefits that allegedly accrue from picking bland white guys.

    Except for the part where Tim Kaine gave a speech that went over very well and spawned a thousand approving memes.

    • JMV Pyro

      I still don’t get how a guy who can speak Spanish fluently and has a decades long connection with Virginia’s African American community qualifies as “bland.” Anyone care to explain?

      • FlipYrWhig

        Well, he’s white, he’s from a state not known for liberal icons, and you probably hadn’t heard of him before, and plus he was picked by Hillary Clinton, ergo he must be the mayonnaise sandwich of candidates, QED, no reason to look any further. I think that’s how it worked.

        • twbb

          Yep, pretty much.

  • medrawt

    Obama is clearly both very intelligent and a skilled politician, so I presume he’s not *unaware* of 11-dimensional chess narratives. But after eight years, if I’m confident of something it’s that he’s not a firebreathing partisan warrior. The simplest assumption is that he picked Garland because Obama, the man (and law professor), genuinely thinks Garland is the guy he most wants to put on the Supreme Court; everything else was a secondary consideration.

    • liberalrob

      I hope that’s not the case because it would further tarnish my estimation of Obama the (supposedly Progressive) President. One more disappointment to add to the list.

      • twbb

        You’re disappointed that a candidate who ran as a moderate then governed as a moderate for 8 years made a moderate pick for SCOTUS?

  • Joe_JP

    On balance, I liked the Garland pick & the chatter (Rick Hasen suggested it happening) he will be confirmed would please me in a childish way since so many people are cocksure it won’t happen.

    People are “making an issue of it” … Sen. Amy Kobuchlar alone even basically (from how I understood her remarks) said if the Republicans wanted to confirm in a lame duck session etc., Dems wouldn’t block him. Would some black judge be made more an issue at the Convention? Who knows. From what I can tell, though referenced, the courts weren’t made MUCH of an issue at all really.

    • Nick056

      On balance, I liked the Garland pick & the chatter (Rick Hasen suggested it happening) he will be confirmed would please me in a childish way since so many people are cocksure it won’t happen.

      Heh. I feel exactly this.

  • Any Republican who voted to confirm Garland would be subject to attacks within the party and be vulnerable to a primary challenge.

    I think this has been an under-reported factor in the current Congressional gridlock and insanity: a decent number of these Republicans aren’t extremely crazy and/or racist, they just know that if they give even an inch Americans for Prosperity will call them RINOs and fund a Tea Party primary challenger.

    • Aaron Morrow

      In this particular case, I haven’t seen anyone make an effective argument that Garland isn’t being nominated because he’s Jewish.

      • I was speaking more of their general “don’t agree to anything Obama wants, even if it was originally our idea” stance.

      • Gwen

        I don’t think you can make a credible argument that any of the Republicans in the Senate are anti-semites. Whatever their flaws, I tend to believe almost all of the senior GOPers sincerely respect Jews.

        However, the Trump campaign has made enough “oopsies” regarding the Jews — the “sheriff star”, the comments regarding Jewish donors, etc. — that I think there’s a plausible case to be made that the Trumpenproletariat is at least soft-core antisemitic.

        I think it would be fair game to raise questions regarding the handful of Senators who are gung-ho for Trump and vocally opposed to Merrick Garland. So you know, like, Jeff Sessions.

        To their credit(?) most of the GOPers in the Congress are staying as far away from this as possible.

        • Woodrowfan

          I don’t think you can make a credible argument that any of the Republicans in the Senate are anti-semites. Whatever their flaws, I tend to believe almost all of the senior GOPers sincerely respect Jews

          Probably, but folk like Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions? Wayyyy to close to the Klan, and its anti-antisemitism. And didn’t Jeff Flake’s son have to apologize for anti-Semitic and racist tweets? the boy picked it up somewhere…. There’s just too much history of anti-antisemitism on the far right historically for me to think it’s gone…

        • tsam

          However, the Trump campaign has made enough “oopsies” regarding the Jews — the “sheriff star”, the comments regarding Jewish donors, etc. — that I think there’s a plausible case to be made that the Trumpenproletariat is at least soft-core antisemitic.

          I wonder if this is a dogwhistle meant to shake off Trump’s perceived “New York values” that might have some of the evangelical dummies on the fence about him.

        • efgoldman

          I tend to believe almost all of the senior GOPers sincerely respect Jews.

          They all love Israel and Bibi. That’s not at all the same thing as respecting American Jews or American Judaism.

    • ColBatGuano

      If the vote comes after the November election, don’t the Republicans just get 5-6 just re-elected Senators to vote yes? I doubt that six years later it would be a particularly effective primary tactic.

      • Scott Lemieux

        But it’s not just those senators, but the leadership, that would get blamed. And you’re assuming that these senators would want to vote for Garland, but why? Again, you’re assuming that the GOP will act in a way that they haven’t actually operated for years. What’s your basis for it?

        • Gee Suss

          I think people keep thinking the Republicans will act in the interest of the country.

          • liberalrob

            assuming that the GOP will act in a way that they haven’t actually operated for years.

            Like the man said.

    • tsam

      a decent number of these Republicans aren’t extremely crazy and/or racist, they just know that if they give even an inch Americans for Prosperity will call them RINOs and fund a Tea Party primary challenger.

      This is ~probably~ true, but then if your conscience allows you to go along with this program to protect a job you’re going to have to fight again for in 2 or 6 years, then are you any better than crazy/racist?

      • Gee Suss

        This times a million. You don’t get any kudos for enabling the racist/crazy people even though you don’t believe what they’re saying.

        • liberalrob

          Well, you do get to keep your job…

          • tsam

            That job cannot be THAT good. Or maybe it can. What the fuck do I know? I wouldn’t get caught up in that side of politics anyway. It smells like a camp toilet on a scorching hot, humid day.

      • No, it doesn’t.

        My point was that even after the outcry over Citizens United and the release of Dark Money, the influence that the Kochs and their network of donors and “social welfare” groups have over the Republican party has not been talked about enough.

  • Anon21

    It seems like the odds of Clinton being elected without a Democratic Senate have risen somewhat in recent weeks. In particular, something strange is going on in Ohio, where Portman picked up endorsements from the Teamsters and a Cleveland Black Lives Matter group (with an ensuing spat over whether the group is “officially” part of a movement that does not seem to have much of a formal hierarchy in any event).

    Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party seems to be having a lot of difficulty getting its act together.

    Anyway, I truly hope that the national tide sweeps in a Democratic Senate majority, because if not, we’re heading for a constitutional crisis when 1) the Senate GOP decides that there’s no need to ever confirm a Democratic nominee, 2) Clinton recess appoints someone, 3) the recess appointment is challenged in court, and 4) the Clinton appointee refuses to recuse from the case when it reaches SCOTUS. Buckle up!

    • Just_Dropping_By

      I’m not sure why you’d think the recess appointee would refuse to recuse themself from the case. A refusal to recuse in that situation would destroy the credibility of that justice in the future because it’s difficult to picture a clearer example of a judge having a personal interest in a case before them.

      • Anon21

        I think Clinton might be inclined to pick someone who’s a partisan warrior, and who would refuse to recuse if that meant in effect that the Senate GOP’s abdication of its constitutional duty would be vindicated. That might even be the right thing to do; I don’t know!

      • Barry_D

        “I’m not sure why you’d think the recess appointee would refuse to recuse themself from the case. A refusal to recuse in that situation would destroy the credibility of that justice in the future because it’s difficult to picture a clearer example of a judge having a personal interest in a case before them.”

        Roberts, Scalia, Bush v. Gore,…..

    • Manny Kant

      Does anybody have any idea what’s going on in Ohio? Teamsters seems baffling to me – they’ve endorsed Strickland in previous elections, and Portman is a pretty standard down the line pro-business conservative (he technically opposes TPP, but pretty explicitly purely opportunistically).

      A BLM group endorsing Portman seems even more bizarre.

  • piratedan

    couldn’t it simply be that Obama thinks Garland is worthy of the seat and respects him? As such, he’s an honest juror who is mostly apolitical and the GOP won’t even take a universally accepted juror, that they themselves have praised in the past, and give him his day in front of the Senate. All Obama has done is select a guy, who supposedly has no political ax to grind and the GOP made it political anyway, illustrating that they have no actual interest in helping to govern America because there’s a POC (and a Democrat!) holding the highest office.

    Plenty of time to associate The Donald up with the GOP because they’re so quintessentially tribal that they’ll follow in his wake regardless.

  • Joe_JP

    the only story you can tell is a procedural one about obstruction — and nobody actually cares about that

    So, the Senate Republicans obstructing things that even they said in the past that are good civic policy is something “nobody actually cares about”? That isn’t my read of the situation, including from comments from Obama on down.

    OTOH, it continuing provides value — people can continue to reference the do nothing Republicans etc. I note too that the article you link where you discuss the nomination suggests there is an argument for the nomination, that it does put Republicans in a bind though it is open to debate. Personally, I think Obama simply liked Garland and that was a major factor.

    Anyway, I’ll grant that it’s possible if a black or woman judge was nominated that there might have been more pushback, but the general realization that this was a sacrificial lamb holds. If we figure the Republicans would confirm no Obama pick, even a black or woman might not get much attention. Plus, why put them thru it? Garland is a perfect lamb in that respect. Plus, Clinton would want to pick her own person anyways. Agree it is somewhat notable.

    • Scott Lemieux

      By “nobody” I’m talking about voters. The GOP will pay no price whatsoever for this.

      • Joe_JP

        And, by “voters” you mean “certain voters” and by “no price” you mean “not enough for me to care.”

        I don’t think Obama on down is talking about the obstructionism for academic reasons. I figure they think it will have some effect on the voting pubic. And, I’m not really sure every GOP in a tough election in November will get no grief from this. etc.

        • Bill Murray

          certain voters meaning those that haven’t completely made up their mind and don’t pay too much attention until mid-October — so about 10-20% of voters or 15-25 or so million voters. I would be shocked if this issue made a difference of 10,000 votes nationwide. 200 or so votes per state seems like a reasonable definition of no price

  • lennywick

    Isn’t by far the easier answer that the mass of the voting population doesn’t understand the Supreme Court and its internal workings, much less what accepting an appointee means, much less what obstructing an appointee means? The subject is far too complicated to quickly explain. Heck, they didn’t even broach general legislative obstruction, not as far as I know.

    • Gee Suss

      This isn’t hard to sell. Think for a minute: if a Democratic Senate obstructed a Republican appointee to the bench, how would Fox News handle it?

  • AMK

    We don’t know anything about the benefits that will accrue from Kaine/Garland and the reassuring bland whote guy approach. It’s very hard to take a poll that specifically focuses on older low-information semi-conservative-but-still-persuadable-white fence-sitters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This is one of those things where the proof will be in the results.

    • twbb

      “It’s very hard to take a poll that specifically focuses on older low-information semi-conservative-but-still-persuadable-white fence-sitters in Ohio and Pennsylvania”

      I would think that would be the best possible kind of poll.

  • tsam

    2menychessdimentions

    • los

      Chest Dementians

  • NewishLawyer

    Garland is no one’s hill to die on.

    My big wonder at the moment is whether the Ds positivism will be able to triumph over R nihilism and negativity. Trump has an audience for his tough guy macho act. There seem to be people who really eat it up at thoughts of arrest and/or violence against the dreaded Ds and liberals.

    So the questions remain, what percentage of Americans yearn for authoritarian strong man politics and can they carry a Presidential election?

    • Joe_JP

      So the questions remain, what percentage of Americans yearn for authoritarian strong man politics and can they carry a Presidential election?

      A question that worries many people, including some here. Some, e.g., suggested that if some major disaster (terrorist attack or economic related perhaps) occurred, good chance Trump wins.

      A tragic thing since sane sorts would argue that would make Trump even more dangerous. This election is a major test for “We the People.”

      • NewishLawyer

        I just want to see how much of a bounce HRC gets. The Upshot and Princeton are still strong for HRC but 538 is remaining bullish on Trump and I am a D so prone to panic and worry.

      • JKTH

        Clinton especially did a good job of painting Trump as the last guy you want to have during a crisis to preemptively guard against that and they’ll need to hammer that message going forward. Republicans are always ready to turn ANYTHING into a disaster around elections anyways.

      • FlipYrWhig

        But to the suggestion that disaster will make people turn to Trump I say this: Hillary Clinton has devoted the 21st century to earning credibility as a tough, unflappable person in a crisis. A lot of the reasons why the left sees her as too hawkish are the same reasons why a disaster won’t wreck her candidacy.

        • Tybalt

          DJT, at least, accurately conveys his feeling, which he shares with the American people, that the country is a dumpster fire.

          I don’t think people will give HRC any credit for her ability to manage a crisis if she doesn’t convey the understanding that things are really bad out there for people; which she can’t and won’t. She has to convey the understanding that there is a crisis to manage or she won’t get the chance.

    • los

      The Nevertrumps never object to nihilism (many nevertrumps remain pro-Cruz). Nevertrumps’ objection
      1. is either that Trump is actually a liberal, or
      2. is a vague other objection… I haven’t tried digging at what the other objection is.

      • Anon21

        I don’t think it’s that vague. Most of them think Trump is temperamentally unsuited to being President, may cause foreign policy catastrophes through his reckless behavior, would betray fundamental American values by openly discriminating on the basis of race and ethnicity, and that he might take anti-democratic actions like prosecuting critics or suing critical media outlets for defamation.

        They’re right about all of that. It speaks well of them (however few they be in number) that they refuse to back Trump simply because he’s the GOP nominee.

        • twbb

          A lot of them are also worried about the possibility of permanent damage to the GOP brand.

  • los

    radio silence at the DNC about Garland is interesting in itself.
    too early… better to wait until see “whites of their eyes”

    Also MSM went quiet months ago, so DNC wasn’t forced to prematurely revive the issue. Trump hasn’t forced the issue, beyond once promising to nominate rwnj justices (but that was months ago?)

  • los

    Any Republican who voted to confirm Garland would be subject to attacks within the party and be vulnerable to a primary challenge. There’s no reason to believe that the typical Republican senator would be willing to take that risk to get a justice who votes with Ruth Bader Ginsburg 87% of the time rather than 95% of the time.

    as I visualize this…
    Repugs are hostage of their own ticking ‘petards’.
    Any election-corrupting mechanism that distorts[1] representative democracy, will position the illegitimate election “winner” at the “polarizing pole” of polarization.

    the metaphor is of one foot on the dock and one foot caught in the ashtray of the sinking clown car.

    _____________
    1. Actually, the distortion must digress from “normal background” distortion. So if gerrymandering is not the norm, then gerrymandering tends to polarize…

  • anonymous

    If Clinton becomes POTUS but Repugs hold the Senate, they will just continue to block any appointments and just let it reduce in size. The new norm will be that the SCOTUS only gets new members when one party controls both the POTUS and Senate. If that means that SCOTUS attritions down to 0 members so be it.

    Maybe if that happens we will get Constitutional reforms such as term limits so SCOTUS appts aren’t seen as being so decisive.

    • los

      If that means that SCOTUS attritions into 0 members so be it.
      consider that seriously…
      Could “everyone” become accustomed to each US Appeals court becoming a regional SCOTUS? (if that is even possible… Article III ?)
      :-)

    • Just_Dropping_By

      In the Alcoa antitrust case back in the 1930s, the Second Circuit sat in place of the U.S. Supreme Court by designation because SCOTUS lacked a quorum following recusals. The rump SCOTUS in your hypothetical would presumably do the same thing.

      • bender

        Is there legislation setting a quorum for the Supreme Court?
        Is it part of the law establishing the number of justices?

        If we’re going by what’s in the Constitution, it appears to me that the Chief Justice could be a quorum all by herself.

    • DAS

      OTOH, if Clinton becomes POTUS and the Democrats take the Senate both the GOP and the media will discover a hallowed tradition that SCOTUS nominations made by a previous president and not confirmed by the Senate MUST be renominated by the new president. The people making this argument that Clinton should be constrained to renominate Obama’s nominee will be the same people who argued that Obama shouldn’t have nominated Garland in the first place because “it’s too close to the election”. The mutual incoherence of these two arguments will receive scant attention, assuming people even remember the whole “it’s too close to the election to nominate a SCOTUS justice” argument in the first place.

    • liberalrob

      If Clinton becomes POTUS but Repugs hold the Senate, they will just continue to block any appointments and just let it reduce in size.

      They may do this initially but in the long term I think it kills them if they stay with it. After the election the “let the voters decide” argument loses its potency and the pressure will be on to confirm someone. The SC needs 9 people to work as designed.

      The new norm will be that the SCOTUS only gets new members when one party controls both the POTUS and Senate.

      Another Constitutional disaster, right up there with the 60% barrier in the Senate. At some point, the government needs to function as designed. Emphasis on function.

      Maybe if that happens we will get Constitutional reforms such as term limits so SCOTUS appts aren’t seen as being so decisive.

      I doubt it. I especially hope we don’t see term limits; we shouldn’t expose judges to the pressures of being a “lame duck.”

      • bender

        The SC needs an odd number of justices to work as designed. The Constitution does not specify a number. What’s your basis for thinking nine is better than seven or five or three? Mere custom?

      • AMK

        How would being a “lame duck” matter? Starting from when the cuurent justices die, they could be appointed for single five-year terms….it would be a pressure release valve for the process.

        If we really wanted to make things interesting, we could just peg the composition of the Court to the composition of the Senate, where the majority of seats would automatically be held by names off a list chosen by the majority party.

    • Ken_L

      That would be my bet. They’ll hope Ginsburg dies, restoring a 4-3 conservative majority. However should one of the conservatives leave the bench, they’ll offer to approve Garland as a replacement provided Clinton appoints a conservative to replace Scalia.

      They’ll certainly force a Democrat-controlled Senate to get rid of the filibuster to confirm a Hillary appointment, generating months of “constitutional crisis!!!!!” histrionics that will be used to justify any number of obstructive tactics pending taking the chamber back in 2018.

  • los

    I can imagine that Garland agreed to being a “phantom” nominee. He doesn’t get dragged through the mud, unless confirmation hearings begin.

  • anpansam

    I think the Dems’ hesitancy to push the Supreme Court as a campaign issue might stem from the fact that it gives sane Republicans a reason to consider Trump, perhaps the only good reason they have. Is it worth it to them to endure four years of a madman in exchange for a majority on the top bench for another couple decades?

    • Scott Lemieux

      But they didn’t avoid mentioning the Supreme Court. The major speeches all talked about it. They just didn’t talk about Garland.

  • DAS

    Perhaps the Dems wanted to limit attacks on the GOP (plenty of time for attack ads later) during the convention, do they decided to focus the attacks on Trump?

  • Denverite

    I can’t prove the counterfactual, but I find it hard to believe that if Paul Watford or Tino Cuellar had been the nominee nobody would have tried to make an issue of it.

    One thing has always bugged me about this. Do we know that Watford or Cuellar were willing to be the sacrificial lamb? I wouldn’t if I were them, not if I thought I had a legitimate shot to be Clinton’s first nominee. Lives are disrupted, work is disrupted, and probably for no benefit to the nominee himself. He almost certainly won’t be her pick, unless he got assurance from the Clinton camp ahead of time that she would re-nominate him if elected. (Which she won’t do; one, because it would be impossible to keep that quiet, and once it got out it would be politically toxic, and two, because she needs to keep her options open — after the Kaine pick, for example, she kind of has to go with a woman. [Go Monica Marquez!].)

    • Joe_JP

      I think it quite possible they didn’t want it.

      Also, it would have been easier for the Republicans to oppose Paul Watford (younger, already divisive confirmation) and Tino Cuellar (a young state court judge would be an out of the box pick too) wasn’t even on the top of the short lists from what I can tell.

      This would make the obstructionist message a lot harder to make & it has been made as if it matters to people. Why would a civil rights motivated activist want a young up and comer to be a sacrificial lamb? Wait a few years & have Clinton appoint them (or one of the women options) since she’ll likely have more than one slot.

  • jamesepowell

    I realize I’m coming into this thread way too late to be a part of any interesting discussions, but I just want to note my total agreement with the last paragraph of the post. The “we need a non-controversial white guy” attitude is fucking infuriating. When the Rs get a chance to pick, they go with the radical lunatic and dare anyone to tell the truth and say no. The Ds – #notallDemocrats – are still playing the 90s game. Like offering to cut social security to get some concession from the Rs. Screw them. Go tell the country you want to expand and increase social security. Tell all the old people who vote every fucking election that you want to make their lives better.

    And when your making a supreme court appointment, tell your supporters that you are going to nominate someone who will do what they want done. Let the Rs object, they will anyway. But we need to be who we are in these big moments. We get nothing trying to accommodate those who will not be accommodated.

    • twbb

      You are assuming, incorrectly, that Democrat==progressive.

      • jamesepowell

        I don’t think so. I’m inferring from his total record, correctly, that President Obama ranges from progressive to progressive friendly.

  • primedprimate

    I think it would have made sense to bring up Garland if Cruz had been the nominee because Cruz is particularly notorious for being obstructionist and the blocking of Garland could have been used as an effective example of Republican obstructionism.

    With Trump as nominee there is no upside of bringing up Garland because Trump does not have Cruz’s reputation as an obstructionist. On the downside, mentions of the Supreme Court could motivate #NeverTrump Republicans to vote for Trump regardless of how distasteful they find him personally because Supreme Court Justices serve for decades while Trump will last for 4 or 8 years at most.

    • Turangalila

      Absolutely: “Senator, will you pledge now to stop performing your Constitutional duties for the last year of your term?”

      • stonetools

        Absolutely: “Senator, will you pledge now to stop performing your Constitutional duties for the last year of your term?”

        I think talk of urging them to do their duty is a waste of time and energy. I think that Republican Senators believe that it is their job and their duty to prevent a liberal majority on the Supreme Court. You and I would disagree with that, but that’s how they think , and more importantly, that’s how the constituents who elected them think. The only cure for this is to vote these guys out or to gain a majority by voting more Democrats. You are never going to shame Republicans into allowing a fifth liberal vote on the Supreme Court

        • (((Hogan)))

          I think that Republican Senators believe that it is their job and their duty to prevent a liberal majority on the Supreme Court.

          Then vote him down. They can do that.

          • stonetools

            Why bother, when you need not hold a hearing at all? (The Constitution doesn’t require it).
            Besides, I think McConnell probably believes that a hearing, once begun, can have a logic and an movement all its own. They really have no reason to vote against Garland, other than he is the fifth liberal, and while for conservatives, that’s sufficient, that’s not enough to justify a down vote for the general public. They’ve decided, probably correctly, that the easiest way to stop the train going down the track is not to allow the train on the track at all.
            That violates the norm, but it’s not strictly un-Constiutional.

    • Thrax

      Yeah, I think this is right. Senate obstructionism is a bit off the point when the presidential nominee on the other side isn’t a senator. The main message of the week, rightly, was “Clinton good, Trump bad,” and anything that didn’t relate to that message was unlikely to get much airtime.

      (Sure, there were some exceptions, like the mothers–stories without explicit Clinton-Trump content–but not a lot, and even if they’d wanted to have a detour for the Supreme Court/the Garland nomination, I have no idea how they could have gone about it.)

  • Turangalila
    • Turangalila

      Haven’t read the whole thread, but I’m sure others have said this… The lack of Garland talk in the convention is just confirmation that the Clinton campaign has decided, reasonably enough, to focus on the manifest disaster that is Trump himself, rather than try and hang Trumpism on the broader GOP, however right that may be.

  • stonetools

    I think once Obama hits the campaign trial, there will be plenty of Garland talk allied with appeals to vote down-ticket for a Senate that will confirm Democratic Presidential appointees.( Garland is really more Obama’s issue than Clinton’s, who will most likely pick someone else should the choice come to her).
    I also think that there is a better than even chance that Obama will give the Republicans what they say they want by withdrawing Garland’s nomination after the election should Clinton win. How could they possibly object to that?( I understand they may do so regardless).

  • stonetools

    One thing has become crystal clear re the Republicans’ stonewalling of Garland: the Republicans simply will not allow a fifth liberal on the Supreme Court as long as they have power to prevent it.
    What this means is that the Democrats will have a clear case to nuke the filibuster for SCOTUS appointees should they win a majority this fall. I know that many here were convinced of this already prior to the Garland nomination, but the general public were not so convinced, IMO. Now there really can be no doubt that the Republicans will filibuster anyone Clinton would nominate. The Garland nomination is proof positive of this, which means that MSM is going to be on board with nuking the filibuster in a way that they would not be absent the example of Garland. Of course, Fox news analysts can be expected to bang on about how “unprecedented” this is, and about how Clinton is “ramming her Supreme Court choice down the throats of the country”, but the rest of the media isn’t going to play along.

  • “Perhaps the horse will learn to sing”. I still think Obama saw an outside chance that Garland gets confirmed this autumn. The scenario is that Clinton builds a massive poll lead by mid-September, Trump continues to insult everybody outside the redneck base who could help him get elected, and it becomes obvious to McConnell that Trump will take the GOP Senate majority down with him. His realistic goals then would have to be to keep the Senate caucus united, distancing itself from Trump, and retake control in 2018. This implies minimising the damage in 2016 by running away from Trump.

    Confirming the white and business-friendly Garland before the election as the lesser evil could then make good sense. It’s a long shot, but then so was Obama’s candidacy in 2007.

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