This story is like a delicious buffet that you just keep going back to for more, more, more. To appreciate this, all you need to know is that Democrats are in a real bind over Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. On the one hand, the resistance-minded base wants revenge for Merrick Garland. They are also terrified by the prospect of a right-leaning court that could eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. So the Indivisible/Resistance types who Democrats have tacitly approved of for the past year are suddenly turning their attention on Senate Democrats, demanding they prevent this confirmation by any means necessary.
On the other hand, Senate Democratic leadership are doing their best to protect the viability of red state Democrats who could lose their seats this November if they come across as too hard-left partisan in this fight. In the middle of this partisan vice are the red state Dems themselves, people like Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin. The pressure is so intense that yesterday Manchin told his own majority leader to “kiss my you know what.”
Which brings us to a piece in the Hill today offering more infighting from the frontlines of this intraparty battle. As I noted this week, the former deputy chief of staff to Sen. Harry Reid, Adam Jentleson, is pushing Democrats to stop at nothing, including possibly shutting down the government to block a vote. Here’s how Democrats on Capitol Hill are reacting to that suggestion:
“What a genius,” said one Democratic aide derisively.
A Democratic strategist close to a red-state senator called the idea “crazy.”
“Here’s the brutal reality: Unless that there’s new polling that I’m not aware of, this does not rank as one of the top five issues for the voters that end up deciding the red-state races,” the source said.
The strategist warned that it could backfire on Democrats if they “come out right off the bat and say we’re going to oppose him at all costs irrespective of what they find.”
“I don’t think that’s going to play well at the Senate level,” the source said. “It ain’t California and New York that’s electing a senator from Montana.”
Democrats facing tough re-elections this year in states that President Trump won by big margins also don’t want to get mixed up in a potential government shutdown a month before Election Day.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) earlier this year panned Democratic threats to hold up a government funding measure over immigration as “stupid talk.”
So the resistance will keep howling at Chuck Schumer to resist but there’s not much he can do. Even if Democrats hang together, they don’t have the votes to block the confirmation. They would need a Republican defector for that. Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said of his own base, “They just don’t get it.” He added, ” Chuck Schumer gets tough with senators. You know how that plays back home?” He’s right of course. The far left rabble wants Democratic Socialism now, but what they’re going to get is Brett Kavanaugh. And if they’re not careful, they’ll wind up with fewer Democrats in the Senate next year. It’s just delicious.