Republicans have a slight Senate majority, 53-47, so there's not a whole lot of room for Benedict Arnolds in the upper chamber when it comes to getting things done. All eyes immediately turn to Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Cory Gardner (R-CO) -- the weak links that Democrats are currently targeting to try and loosen McConnell's grip on the Senate.
It was a relief, then, to hear Sen. Alexander, who is retiring this year, say on Sunday that he believes the Senate should move forward with President Trump's nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The president said he will unveil his female nominee this coming week and McConnell has vowed a full vote in the Senate to confirm her. Democrats will need to peel away three votes from the GOP column to block the president's nominee.
"No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year. The Constitution gives senators the power to do it," Sen. Alexander said in a statement.
"The voters who elected them expect it. Going back to George Washington, the Senate has confirmed many nominees to the Supreme Court during a presidential election year," Alexander continued. "It has refused to confirm several when the President and Senate majority were of different parties. Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot."
So it looks like Sen. Alexander is pretty solid here. As far as the others go, Sen. Collins wasted no time lining up behind Chuck Schumer and the Democrats to say Trump should take the rest of his term off and let whoever wins in November do the job. In her defense, Collins is in a tight Senate race in a Democrat-leaning state that is still upset about her vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh. So Collins is gonna say whatever she has to right now. Murkowski is predictably a no go too.
A source close to Romney reportedly said that he's against the Senate taking up a nominee before the election, but nothing from the candidate himself yet. As with all things Romney, prepare to be disappointed. Corey Gardner is down in the polls and dodging the SCOTUS question from reporters. Libs were excited that former Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said previously that he wouldn't take up a nominee during an election year. Too bad Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) now chairs the committee.
Grassley said it's up to Graham whether or not to take up the vote. and Graham appears to be backing the president's decision to fill the vacancy. We'll see if the Democrats' gang-rape accusations and inevitable hysteria over whoever Trump's nominee ends up being will be enough for Democrats win the day.