The cat is officially out of the bag. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 strategist explained that Republicans are obstructing President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee because it will help them motivate Republican voters without costing them moderate voters.
In a Wall Street Journal analysis of a poll that showed that more Republicans want the Senate to vote on the Supreme Court nominee now that he’s been named (Judge Merrick Garland, a moderate) – 24% of Republicans want the Senate to vote this year, up from 16% last month – the real purpose behind Republicans denying the country 9 justices on the Supreme Court became clear.
Talking about how in spite of growing public support for Senate votes on Judge Garland Republicans are refusing to do their jobs, a McConnell political consultant announced that issues the Supreme Court will motivate the base without alienating moderate voters.
The following is a clip from the Wall Street Journal analysis:
That raises the question of why the Republican resistance has held up even during the latest phase of the Supreme Court battle, which has begun to touch on the nominee himself instead of solely the process. The answer, according to Republican strategists, is that Supreme Court nomination fights tend to matter primarily to core voters on both sides of the aisle, and not the swath of moderate voters who determine election outcomes. In other words, taking a hardline position against hearings or a vote will rally core Republican voters without driving away other groups.
“Any time you are looking at an electorate where you want to ensure the base is motivated to support a candidate, an issue like this helps,” said Josh Holmes, a political consultant who ran Mr. McConnell’s successful 2014 re-election campaign. In the meantime, “by almost any measure that we’ve seen thus far, the voters who fall into that swing category that determine an election just aren’t that interested in the Supreme Court fight.”
So basically Republicans are using the Supreme Court as a get out the vote tool, leaving it down a seat for almost a year, in an unprecedented move that is corrupting the checks and balances upon which our government was based.
This has been obvious from the beginning, but it’s one thing to deduce the motive and it’s another to have Republicans admit it. Harry Reid (D-NV) was right, Republicans are using the Senate Judiciary Committee as a political arm of the Republican Party. They can’t run on the issues, so they’ve lowered themselves to cheating any way they can.
The ignorant thing is that with Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as their frontrunner, you better believe moderates aren’t going to want a Republican in the White House picking the next SCOTUS. And if a Democrat wins, they could nominate someone much more liberal than Judge Garland.
But to Republicans, this is just more collateral damage in their party’s last teeny tent gasp for political power.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.