Republicans, it’s time to wake up

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives to meet with reporters following a Republican strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. Republican efforts to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are likely to move swiftly this week, with President Donald Trump possibly nominating a replacement within days and GOP senators hoping to jump-start the confirmation process. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo.

Senate Republicans, we would all really rather not be in this position. I don’t want to have to beg four out of 53 people in your delegation to find the humanity to admit that Donald Trump appointing another Supreme Court Justice will be the end of our society as we know it. You don’t want to have the American people swarm the polls to vote you out in two months because you hypocritically replaced one of the most beloved justices in history with six weeks to an election after your party refused to give Merrick Garland so much as a hearing.  

I have a proposition for you. Maybe, let’s just not? In six weeks, if Donald Trump wins the election, you’ll have free license to appoint whatever anti-minority judge he decides suits his fancy, and really, nobody will be able to protest because senate Democrats can’t well filibuster for four years or act as though that wasn’t the will of the American people. 

And if he doesn’t, well, Trump has already promised that, “If I lose to him, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I will never speak to you again.” So, that would solve that, too; Trump can’t drag people through the mud on Twitter if he’s never speaking to his supporters ever again.  

Republicans in the Senate have the chance to fundamentally shift the way they and their party are viewed for decades to come. Did they sit by and watch a president with absolutely no capacity for intelligence or understanding for other people pack the Supreme Court with anti-minority judges who dismantled decades of hard-won legislation? Or did they actually wake up from their four-year walking comas and look around and say, “F–k, he’s destroying our party.”  

In 2016, with over 200 days to go until the election, Mitch McConnell said, “Let’s let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.”

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Now, with less than two months until what may be one of the most divisive elections in our history, McConnell is rushing to fill a seat seemingly out of  terror that Donald Trump won’t win again. If he had any confidence in Trump, he would wait; this move will infuriate anyone who isn’t a conservative and risk losing votes in the coming election out of sheer hypocrisy. The only reason to attempt to force this vote now is because you are afraid that the new president in November will be Joe Biden.  

The American people deserve to have their interests represented in the Supreme Court. That means that they should not have to watch a third of the court be far-right conservatives who were added by a president who lost the popular vote and has been historically unpopular throughout his presidential career.  

If the senate goes through with this and confirms a nominee that President Trump puts forward before the election, the Democrats need to immediately pledge to do everything possible to stack the court if Biden wins. Expanding to 11 justices would still leave the conservatives as a majority but would be a major step back towards balance.  

And the majority on the Supreme Court is not just a title. The Supreme Court holds lives in the balance when they debate things like the Affordable Care Act or DACA. People will die because of a conservatively stacked Court that does not accurately represent the will of the people. The idea that 51 Senate Republicans can know before a nominee has been proposed that that person is worthy of a seat on the highest court in the country is insane. How long before we are simply voting Democrat or Republican on the ballot without any idea of who it is we are giving power to?  

It is time for Republicans in the Senate to realize that continuing to mindlessly back Donald Trump is not going to save their party. If there is one legacy Trump will leave behind whenever his presidency ends, it will be a story of how he single handedly ruined the future of a major political party. And no one seems willing to stop him.  

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