For liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, it’s an easy choice regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Both sides have made up their minds weeks before these hearings, which have devolved into total clown shows, started this week. With former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl being tapped to serve the remainder of the late John McCain’s term, we have a decisive vote locked up. Kyl is probably going to vote for Kavanaugh. I’m betting McCain would have a “yea” vote as well if he were healthy. The point is the game is over. We have won. The votes are there for confirmation. It’s only a matter of time.
Yet, concerning red-state Democrats, it’s a question about survival. Do they want another term or do they want to please the rabid progressive base that is virtually non-existent in their respective states? Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Indiana are not hotbeds of anti-Trump resistance movement. Still, as we’ve noted before, red-state Democrats could back Kavanaugh, vote for him (he already has the votes), and ensure their re-elections. The downside is that they will be frozen out of Democratic circles, could reap the ire of progressives who will make their lives hell for the remainder of this election cycle and more to come, and be cut off form key fundraising and financial apparatuses essential to winning elections. The term persona non grata rings a bell.
Since President Trump nominated Kavanaugh Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Joe Donnelly, and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have been put in a vice this cycle over this vote. Voters in their states want Kavanaugh confirmed. For at least McCaskill and Manchin, it could be a vote that either breaks them or degrades their re-election chances. It’s the reason why they’ve deployed countermeasures when the media is around, declining to attend the nominating ceremony of Kavanaugh some two months ago. Either way, they’re not in an enviable position. In many ways, they’re quite screwed (via Axios):
The progressive base is demanding that Democratic senators vote no on Kavanaugh. But Republicans say support for his nomination is highest in four Trump states with Democratic senators: Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota and Missouri.
Driving the news: Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris interrupted Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing seconds after it started. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker followed. Protestors were ushered out of the room.
Red-state Democrats are stuck between support for Kavanaugh in their home states and pressure from their party to oppose Trump nominees at all costs. Opposing Kavanaugh might be an easy call for the rest of the Democrats, but it's not an easy call for them.
Yeah, their more liberal colleagues aren’t helping them either. Election Day is 60 days away.
Can't wait for Trump-state Democrats (McCaskill, Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, etc.) to justify/condemn their liberal colleagues' unprecedented tantrum. Up to now they've claimed to want to hear a Kavanaugh hearing, so let's see if they tell Judiciary Ds to let him.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) September 4, 2018