Chuck Grassley wont consider a Supreme Court nominee from President Trump in 2020

Chuck Grassley won\t consider a Supreme Court nominee from President Trump in 2020
Mitch McConnell Is Going to Kill the United States Senate
After a series of gut-wrenching moments, intense and emotional exchanges, and by far the weirdest hearing I have ever seen on Capitol Hill, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the newest justice of the Supreme Court.

Only that wasnt the end of the matter. Kavanaugh then went to the White House to partake in a fake swearing-in ceremony that—because Donald Trump has to be Donald Trump—had all the hallmarks of a political rally.

With a vote looming, the Democrats leaked Ford's allegation, against her explicit wishes.  A deranged circus ensued, during which Feinstein and her colleagues (when they weren't actively validating utterly outrageous, baseless, and ultimately discredited smears) demanded delays, new hearings, and an FBI investigation.  They ended up getting all three.  After a handful of Republicans assented to the controversial request that the Bureau reopen its background check probe into Kavanaugh, GOP leaders had little choice but to agree.  Federal agents spoke to the alleged fact witnesses named by the two most credible (which is not to say credible) Kavanaugh accusers, filing a report with those interviews.  This resulted in absolutely zero new evidence or testimony that could corroborate either story — neither of which could be backed up by any of the accusers' own named witnesses.  Indeed, the only new information the FBI appeared to turn up was apparent improper pressure applied against one of the fact witnesses by Ford's allies. 

Deja Vu for Democrats?

Sitting in the front row at that ceremony, taking it all in, was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), which was appropriate since all of this—the weird hearing, the subtle dismissal of victims of sexual assault, the secrecy around the nominees record—was his doing. He is the maestro of moving judicial nominees through the Senate, and Kavanaugh was a prime testament to McConnells ruthless, amoral pursuit of that singular mission.

Let's begin with a handy recap.  For nearly two months over the summer, Senate Democrats sat on Christine Blasey Ford's 36-year-old allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein reportedly telling colleagues that the claim was too distant and too unverifiable to merit serious scrutiny.  Dr. Ford told Democrats that she did not want to be named publicly.  Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation hearings came and went, over which period Democrats scored no points with their posturing and demagoguery (most of the Judiciary Committee Democrats announced their opposition to Kavanaugh within minutes of him being named, with some seeking to accrue extra style points for shrillness and hysteria).  At no time in any meetings with Kavanaugh did any Democrat ask about the high school-era accusation, nor did the subject come up at any stage of the public or private hearings.  None of the traditional committee protocols for investigating a nominee were ever set into motion.  

Grassley says he wouldnt let Supreme Court vacancy be filled in 2020

For those who have been in the trenches fighting against McConnell (and Im one of them, having served as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reids top communications hand), his success is undeniable. Single-minded in his pursuit of political power, imaginative in his choice of tactics, and emotionless to his core, he practiced Obamas no drama mantra years before it became associated with the 44th president. And because of it, our judiciary will bear the imprint of his efforts decades after he leaves office.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate on Wednesday that the White House put limits on the re-opened investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but the law enforcement chief insisted that the process used was a typical one. "Our supplemental update to the previous background investigation was limited in scope and that … is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back a long ways," Wray said under questioning by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on global security threats…"I've spoken with our background investigation specialists and they have assured me this was handled in a way consistent with their experience and the standard process," the FBI director said, later adding that the inquiry was "very specific in scope—limited in scope."

But, and this is very important, that wont be McConnells sole or even his most important legacy. Indeed, when history is written on McConnells tenure as Republican leader, there will be a more profound and unsettling conclusion: McConnell broke the Senate and hurt the country, and the sad fact is that he couldnt care less.

This so-called institutionalist who expresses such devotion to the Senates traditions and the working people of Kentucky is, on these fronts, a fraud. That McConnell exists only in the imaginations of the reporters that write glowing profiles about the brilliant means and Machiavellian mind-set he employs while giving short shrift to the damaging ends he pursues.

This may not do a thing to quell the dark insinuations and hair-on-fire fury of the left-wing mob (and yes, that word does apply to some of the thuggery and intimidation we've been witnessing, tacitly encouraged or shrugged off by a number of leading national Democrats).  But it's an important reality check nonetheless, and it's another reminder that the Left lost fair and square in this fight.  Their dirty, vicious tactics failed.  They deserved to lose. I recently discussed the implications of the Democrats' shameless and shameful conduct on Fox & Friends and Townhall's own Triggered podcast:

The reality is that for him politics is all about winning. The idea that a leader would work to bridge the differences between the two parties in order to try and improve the country is a foreign concept to him. Everything is a zero-sum game. He is a man of no conviction except for a pursuit of power at all costs.

Will Supreme Court kill Medicare for All? Maybe — Democrats should fight for it anyway

I had a ringside seat for all of this when I was working in Senator Reids office for six years. The economy was in a free fall and millions of Americans were hurting. So what did McConnell do? He used every tool available to him as Republican leader to block Obamas efforts to address this suffering and indicated his opposition to the newly elected presidents agenda for good measure. It was one thing for him to declare famously that his whole goal was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president (obviously he failed) but it was another thing to watch him try to round up the votes to filibuster virtually every piece of legislation we brought to the floor.

The question came up on a recent episode of "The Weeds," a Vox podcast. The hosts were mostly addressing a current challenge to the Affordable Care Act, and how the current Supreme Court could well choose to dismantle Barack Obama's signature legislation. The actual legal arguments in the case are laughably bad, but that was the point the hosts were highlighting: The starkly partisan court, especially with Kavanaugh now seated, is no longer beholden to the concept of good-faith readings of the law, and is free to use thin pretenses to throw out laws written by Democratic legislators.

Video: Federal Judges In Colorado Asked To Handle Kavanaugh Complaints

The same pattern was there regarding judges. McConnells entire objective was to simply block what Obama or Democrats put forward, especially during Obamas second term in office. Its the reason there were so many judicial vacancies available for Trump to fill.  

The laws of politics, once assumed to be as certain as gravity, have changed in many ways. But one of the biggest such laws ones is that with a Supreme Court geared mainly toward serving as a conservative firewall against legislative progress, Democratic elected officials have nothing left to lose. It's time to start taking the political risks that used to be impossible to imagine. So whenever Democrats are finally back in power, it's time to start daring the Supreme Court to take away huge wins like Medicare for All, and learning what kind of impact that has on the voters.

McConnells defenders will say that he was just doing what any opposition leader would do in that position. But the truth is, it was not standard fare. And he did it, in part, to ensure his own survival. In 2012, when his leadership position was threatened by an insurgent Tea Party, McConnell capitulated. Rather than questioning some of the movements more extreme views, which ran contrary to his public record to that point, he appointed a Ron Paul staffer to run his re-election campaign. It was not a profile in courage.

All of which is why, if they manage to win Congress and the presidency, Democrats should not be worried about passing a bunch of bold bills, even if the Supreme Court is certain to strike them down. In the past, such a strategy would reasonably have been viewed as a waste of time and resources that could be put toward passing bills that have a chance of survival. But it's unlikely that even modest reforms will survive the right-wing shredder of the current Republican-stacked Supreme Court. So Democrats might as well go for broke.

That was just the first act. For his next one, he cooked up a false argument to keep Judge Merrick Garland, Obamas pick for the Supreme Court, bottled up in committee, never even giving the president a courtesy of a hearing. He followed that up with his handling of Kavanaugh, which was breathtaking in its audacity: from the shielding of records to the limiting of the scope of the investigation into allegations of sexual assault.

Traditionally, the answer to the question of whether the legislature should pass laws they know the courts will evacuate has been a hearty no. But I would argue, in the case of Medicare for All and other signature bills, that Democrats should move forward anyway — not just in spite of the Supreme Court, but because of it. If the court keeps shooting down popular legislation in big cases that draw major media attention, that can help educate voters on how politicized, and how reactionary, it has become.

After watching all that, no one should have been surprised to hear McConnell declare this week that despite how hed bottled up Garlands nomination, the standard set then wouldnt necessarily apply to Donald Trump. In an all-too-typical display of hypocrisy, McConnell left open the possibility of confirming another Supreme Court justice during the 2020 presidential elections if a vacancy occurred and Republicans still controlled the Senate. McConnell had some ready-made rationalization for why this was within the norms and traditions of the Senate—when, in reality, it was anything but that.

But thats just McConnell. While he may be imaginative when it comes to using power, he also a leader with little or no concern for the collateral damage his methods inflict on the Senate and our political system.  

Henry Clay, whose seat he holds, and who brokered bipartisan deals in hopes of keeping the union together, once observed the time will come when Winter will ask you what what you were doing all Summer. I am not sure Clay would approve of how McConnell has used this summer.

Both sides consultants say initial polling shows newfound enthusiasm among conservatives, who until the court fight were far less excited about voting than their liberal, anti-Trump counterparts. The big question, they agree, is whether conservative enthusiasm will last until Nov. 6 or fade away, victim to the historic pattern of midterm congressional losses by the party holding the White House and the ever-changing parade of distracting controversies prevalent under Trump.

AP Photo/David Goldman AP Photo/David Goldman X Story Stream recent articles Video: Global Warming Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit … Article: Global Warming Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit … Article: Global Warming Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit … Entry: Global Warming Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit … Video: Global Warming Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit … What if the blue wave is merely a blue ripple? What if it doesn’t even make it to shore? With the “Kavanaugh effect,” there are signs the Democratic Party should be worried about the midterms, and if we fall short, there will be a party civil war.

But by pushing ahead, Democrats made Republicans cast a health care vote that Democrats could wield in campaign ads for next months midterm elections, in which they hope to topple the GOPs 51-49 Senate majority. The vote was also aimed at refocusing people away from the Senates nasty battle over confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which both sides say has transformed indifferent conservative voters into motivated ones — for now.

It all seems so familiar now. Pundits on television telling us in unison it’s a near certainty.  President Obama, Vice President Biden, Hillary Clinton, and many other party luminaries and celebrities out energizing the base, even in red states. A hotly contested vacancy on the Supreme Court. Confident projections from the safe confines of the Beltway that a blue wave is coming. 

The blue wave didn’t come then. As hard as it may be to imagine, and against all hopes, what happens if it doesn’t this year either?

Shifting control of the Senate is vital, but thats still an insufficient response; progressives must acknowledge the broader crisis and redouble their efforts to address it. Kavanaugh joins a right-wing activist majority on the Court that extends not from the will of the people but from our broken and dysfunctional politics. He is the fourth member of that majority to be nominated by a president who lost the popular vote. The genius of the American experiment has been its adaptability—much of it achieved by amending a Constitution that the founders knew would need to be changed. Yet the Electoral College lingers as the unreformed remnant of a period in which compromises between slaveholders and wealthy merchants were designed to thwart democracy. Advocates for constitutional amendments to get corporate money out of politics and to guarantee the right to vote—essential responses to the Courts disastrous decisions in Citizens United v. FEC and Shelby County v. Holder—must add to their agenda the elimination of the Electoral College. They can also work for short-term fixes like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in which states formally agree to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular ballot.5 Progressives must also make structural reform of the courts a priority. A century ago, presidential contenders like Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette proposed sweeping reforms of the federal judiciary, which was well understood as a reactionary threat. There were calls for legislation and constitutional amendments that would give Congress the power to defend laws that the Supreme Court sought to overturn, and to change the courts themselves with term limits for judges and provisions for the recall of errant jurists. President Franklin Roosevelt tried in the 1930s to expand the Supreme Court so that dinosaur justices appointed in the distant past could not block the New Deal. These calls for reform were dismissed as radical. But history often reminds us that the radicalism of one moment is the common sense of the next. That next moment has come. The awful corruptions of politics and process that put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court demand the immediate response of a new Senate and the longer-term response of a common-sense movement to reform the federal judiciary.6 John NicholsTwitterJohn Nichols is The Nations national-affairs correspondent. He is the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, from Nation Books, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.

Senate Turns To Health Care, Dems Force Vote They Can Campaign On

Regardless of how many reputable pollsters and number crunchers project the speaker of the House’s gavel going to Nancy Pelosi and Democrats gaining seats in the Senate, perhaps even enough to gain the majority there, the party would be well-advised to guard against the last minute complacency that sunk its hopes in 2016. With less than four weeks to go until ballots are cast, there are signs that the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans has closed in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s ugly nomination fight and subsequent confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Video: McConnell: Senate not broken in Kavanaugh wake

The wrenching drama of the Kavanaugh hearings injected a new sense of urgency in the left’s activist base. But it has also stirred emotions on the right, something that conservative media from Fox News to talk radio has stoked in an effort to create an alternate reality that the accusations were fabricated and a George Soros-engineered political attack, or in Donald Trump’s words, “a hoax.” Nothing could be further from the truth, but it doesn’t matter to the Republican base, which is now far more energized than these voters were only two weeks ago.  New NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist polling suggests the enthusiasm gap between the parties has dropped from a 10-point Democratic advantage to a dead heat as of this week.

Americans can see the effect of Democrats decision to tut-tut mobs. We can see it in the thousands of people who showed up to occupy the Senate Hart Building in order to harass senators. We can see it in the mobs braying and pounding against the doors of the Supreme Court. We can see it in the groups who have hounded Republicans ranging from Ted Cruz to Kirstjen Nielsen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Mitch McConnell in public spaces.

It’s hard to know exactly how the dynamics of Kavanaugh’s politics play out for midterm voter models, but if nothing else, the “Kavanaugh effect” of inspiring a higher GOP turnout now takes the U.S. Senate out of play as red state Democrats — including North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Texas’ Beto O’Rourke, who were surging until the hearings — now face uphill battles.  

Over the past few days, President Trump has rightly singled out high-ranking Democratic support for a mob mentality. Speaking in Iowa, President Trump told a crowd of 9,000 that the Democrats were an angry mob pushing policies of anger, division and destruction. He explained, You dont hand matches to an arsonist and you dont give power to an angry left-wing mob, and thats what the Democrats are.

If theres a Kavanaugh bounce in the midterms, which direction will it go?

All of this to say that a Democratic victory in the midterms is far from a sure bet. And if Democrats falter and fail to live up to expectations for the second national election in a row, we can say goodbye to the party as we’ve known it. For decades, I have worked for my party at various levels. Among other positions, I was co-chairman of the National Finance Committee for John Kerry in 2004, was on the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008, a member of the Obama Inaugural Committee, and a Pennsylvania elector in 2012.  I’ve attended every Democratic National Convention since 1976.

But the media are now engaging in a rather incredible gaslighting tactic: theyre claiming that even as top Democrats wink and nod at the mob, theres no such thing as a Leftist mob. Thus, CNNs Brooke Baldwin reacted with utter incredulity at the idea that mobs had anything to do with the Brett Kavanaugh saga:

As Democrats, we’ve had hard-fought primary battles this year – there’s never been a time when we haven’t. And the results have cut both ways, most recently in New York where establishmentarian Andrew Cuomo defeated left-leaning TV star Cynthia Nixon while five incumbent centrist state senators lost their jobs to aggressive progressive Dems. But at the same time, I’ve never seen a period where the party’s rank-and-file has been more united, progressives and establishment folk, moderates and conservatives in service to one goal – stopping the obscene overreach of the Trump administration. That unity collapses on Nov. 6 if we do not win control of the House of Representatives, if we lose seats in the Senate, or we fall short in governor’s races. 

According to many members of the media, there is no such thing as a Left-wing mob – those are just angry people. And there is no such thing as a Right-wing protest – there are only angry, racist mobs. For those who didnt believe in media bias, this weeks mob controversy should be an eye-opener.

Democrats push health care vote ahead of midterm elections

All of that could happen. It’s conceivable that Republicans can mobilize just enough of their base to cling to a slender majority in the House. It’s conceivable, and in some scenarios even likely, that Republicans will gain a seat or two, or even three, in the U.S. Senate. We might lose high-profile governor’s races in places like Florida and Georgia, where African-American candidates are currently surging. What then? 

Democrats aim for big gains in state legislatures

Bye, Bye, Leadership. First, the Democratic Party’s leadership will face a dramatic reckoning. Ever since Bernie Sanders fell short in 2016, with his supporters claiming the nominating process had been “rigged,” millions of members of our party have viewed Washington’s leaders with growing unease. A victory will provide a needed salve; a loss would tear open the wound beyond repair. Fairly or unfairly, every person in a leadership position in the Democratic House and Senate would feel the brunt. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, in particular, would feel the the full rebellion. The shocking primary victory of a candidate like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who toppled Rep. Joe Crowley — long rumored to be a future House speaker — would be the trend, not the aberration. 

McConnell warns Dems on investigating Trump

Not Your Father’s Democratic Party. Second, the Democratic Party would become unrecognizable. The left wing of the party will no longer be content with an uneasy alliance with experienced party regulars. The vast majority of candidates will now be talking about once fringe positions such as banning guns, abolishing ICE and huge redistributions of wealth. This will make it even harder for the party to make inroads beyond its coastal bases and give the Trump version of the Republican Party a real hold on Middle Americans wary of taking a chance on more extreme lefty Democrats.

Trump Unchained. Think Donald Trump can’t get more unbearable? Just wait until his party shocks the world again. Some of Trump’s wilder impulses have been restrained by advisers warning him that reckless actions could imperil control of Congress this November. Feeling himself politically invincible, the president will no longer listen to them. Goodbye, Jeff Sessions.  Goodbye, Rod Rosenstein. Goodbye, WTO. Goodbye, United Nations. Oh, and goodbye, Bob Mueller.   

Video: McConnell warns targeting Trump could hurt Dems

Mueller’s Dud. If Democrats fall short again, Robert Mueller could produce images of Trump receiving paychecks from Vladimir Putin and Trump would still survive impeachment in Congress. There would be no meaningful investigations and oversight of Trump’s behavior by the House of Representatives, no subpoenas issued to various Trump organizations to glean more information about allegations of corruption, no oversight of Cabinet officials, an extraordinary number of whom have already been accused of graft. Trump would have a “get out of jail free” card – and he will use it.

Can a tsunami of angry women voters swamp the Republicans white male base?

Republicans Compete to Kiss the Ring. The dirty little secret of Washington is that most, if not all, Republicans in Congress privately think Trump is an unguided missile of nonsense with a dangerous splash of crazy. But if his party – and it’s his party now, win or lose – continues to demonstrate some magical hold on voters, Republican officeholders are going to follow his playbook without criticism or complaint. The devolution from the party of Lincoln to a cult of personality will be complete.

Maine Voices: Strong economy, antics on Kavanaugh may leave blue wave dead in the water

Ever since I became involved in party politics, I have heard one candidate or another proclaim that whatever election is next is the most important in our country’s history. I’ve probably made the proclamation myself, maybe more than once. But if that statement were ever true, it’s in 2018.  The future of this country, in a very real and terrifying way, is riding on the blue wave that we can just start to see from the shore. We cannot afford for it to become a ripple.

Mark Alderman served on the Kerry for President and Obama for America national finance committees and the Obama-Biden presidential transition team, and is currently chairman of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies.


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