Ginsberg Replacement: Can Mitch McConnell Count to 51?

Ginsberg Replacement: Can Mitch McConnell Count to 51? September 19, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Source Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. 

Her death, coming as it does just six weeks before a momentous presidential election, has no doubt already set in motion furious behind-the-scenes political calculating and prognosticating. The decisions which result from all this political infighting will have an enormous impact on the future and perhaps the continued existence of our Republic, as well as the future of the world. 

A seat on the United States Supreme Court has opened up at exactly the moment when the decision making process itself will weigh in the balance of the outcome of the November 3 election. What will the president and the Senate do, and, more to the point, when will they do it?

I can’t tell you how this is going to end. But I can give you a little bit of insight into the factors that sit heavy on the minds of those who will do the deciding. The election is, of course, foremost in their consideration.

President Trump is standing for re-election. He is going to do his best to use this new situation with the Supreme Court to rally his base and win that election. This is a man who does not care about the country at all. His only consideration is himself. Whatever he does, it will be in his best interest and no one else’s.

His campaign has used two two primary tactics. First, it’s a vehicle for Trump to parade his preposterously crude and disgusting behavior in front of large crowds so that he can use the shock value of his performances as a diversion. Second, he has tried his best to cast blame for the sorry state to which he has brought this great nation on Joe Biden by running against Joe Biden as if Biden had been president these past four years instead of Trump. Most of Trump’s brain-dead followers have fallen for this ridiculous ruse. 

Nominating someone immediately and then pushing them through in the next four weeks would fit Trump’s need to create chaos and distraction. It would also help set up the court to vote however he wants in any election challenges he might mount if he loses on November 3. 

Above all things, he wants to divert people from the fact that so many Americans have died as a direct result of his negligent handling of COVID-19 and that he has said he will end the Payroll tax that funds Social Security. If he is re-elected and keeps this promise, Trump would shut down Social Security by 2023, leaving millions of America’s elderly in dire straits. 

He’s got 200,000 dead Americans, riots in the street, a West Coast that is a smoking tragedy, rapes and mass hysterectomies performed on women in his camps for hispanics, extreme right wing militia threatening sedition, women accusing him of rape and demanding his DNA to prove it, constant protests against racism and a damaged Social Security program that provides for America’s elderly which he has promised to shut down. 

That’s a lot to cover up. 

The truth is, he doesn’t need to lie his way out of all this with his base. They make up lies for him. America’s Trumpian religious leaders are the worst liars of all. We’ve got professional Catholics, priests and even a bishop, all lying about what Church teaching teaches and Bible thumping evangelicals lying about what the Bible says; all for Trump. 

Trump’s problem is that all the ranting and raving, obscene insults and ridiculous lies about how extreme middle-of-the-road Joe Biden is haven’t been able to move Americans who are not charmed by his sadistic crazy. His base gets him close to winning. Close to half the voters in this country have shown that he can kill 200,000 of us and they don’t care one bit. 

But pushing it past that hard core of hyped-up true believers is a tough job of work. To do that, Trump needs a diversion big enough to make those of us who haven’t had our brains washed forget that he’s already killed a lot of us and if he wins again, the next crisis he doesn’t handle might well do the job for real. 

An old-fashioned Supreme Court confirmation bloodletting would serve that purpose nicely. 

The fly in that cup of tea is that a goodly number of Republican senators are up for election themselves and many of them are in a fight for their political lives. A confirmation hearing right now is a dream scenario for someone who is running against an incumbent Republican senator. If the Kavanaugh hearing is a harbinger, it could easily cost the Rs the Senate. 

The question in this is not just if McConnell is willing to further endanger the Republican majority in the Senate by holding hearings in the month before the election, but does he have a choice? If Trump turns all the screws that he can turn, it’s very possible that he could shut off most of the dark money and party money to McConnell himself if McConnell doesn’t play ball. We also need to remember that McConnell’s wife is in Trump’s cabinet. 

If you wonder how completely McConnell is under Trump’s thumb just consider the dishonest way he mishandled the Senate “trial” during the impeachment. McConnell is dirty all over. 

But he holds his position as Majority leader because he was elected by the Republican senators. They can put him on the back row if they want. 

Nothing stinks in politics like the stench of a lost election. Quite a number of Republican senators are standing over the open graves of their electoral careers, fighting not to be pushed in. The question is, will they allow McConnell to do this to them? 

If four members of the Republican caucus peal off, McConnell will have to take a pass on holding a vote on confirmation of any Trump nominee. Otherwise, the whole thing will go down in flames. Of course, he could take a shot at running the vote after November 3 and before the new Senate is seated. 

Maybe his senators will manage to hold onto their seats and he’ll have an easy route to 51 in December. If Trump wins, the urgency would be off altogether and they could wait until after the inauguration. 

Running the confirmation now like it was a horse pulling a wagon that’s on fire would provide the biggest diversion for Trump. It would also give him a better shot at using the Supremes to overturn the election in the courts if he loses. But it might also kill the Republican senate dead as a stump come November 3. 

Of course, if Trump loses by a good margin, and the Rs lose the senate, then we’re looking at a new dawn of democracy come November 4. At that point We the People will have re-taken our government from would-be dictators and traitors. There would be a lot of cleanup. But we will have saved America. 

This whole discussion is a lesson in what happens when you go off and vote single issue without regard for the quality of people you’re electing. Anybody can see that Trump is a thug. It’s right out there in front. Not only that, but he never hid it. He campaigned on it. 

I have no doubt that he is a flat-out traitor to this country. I know that he’s a woman-hating, racist, incompetent, lying walking barrel of dirt who is not fit to sit down to dinner with the decent people of this country. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It’s a political puzzle. The key to the thing is simple. Can Mitch McConnell count to 51?

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