Rush Limbaugh often tells listeners early in an election year that the events that will shape the election have not happened yet. His point being that polling during the primaries, or even during the summer of an election year, are usually meaningless by November due to intervening events. This year has been a great demonstration of this rule. Early in 2020, who predicted a virus from China would cause politicians at every level to impose economic shutdowns? Who foresaw corporate America embracing draconian personal health rules that would have gotten someone labeled a germaphobe and committed to a mental institution just a few months ago? Who imagined leftists would politicize a virus, with Democratic mayors and governors imposing restrictions and requirements on citizens and an army of "Karens" nagging strangers in public? Who could have foreseen Democratic officials having gym owners, parents playing with their children in a park and beauticians literally handcuffed and jailed for operating their gym, playing with their kids in a park or styling hair?
While it may have been predictable that some interaction between blacks and police in a large city might erupt into rioting, who could have imagined an arrest in Minneapolis would be used as a pretext for months of violent riots in Democrat-run cities across America? Even more shocking to most Americans, though, was the uniform response from Democratic city officials in adopting the "space to destroy" approach of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake during the 2015 riots following the death of Freddie Gray, and going even further by allowing rioters to set up lawless autonomous zones?
The passing this week of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while hardly a surprise considering her reported health issues over the past few years, added another explosive layer of complication just six weeks before the November general election. But will the Supreme Court vacancy cause anyone to switch his or her vote one way or another? People who vote based on Supreme Court selections have likely already made their decision. The impact for the election is more likely to be the level of motivation to turn out among those voters for whom Supreme Court vacancies are important. In this regard, the manner in which President Trump and Senate Republicans handle this vacancy could have a substantial impact on the election.
Advertisement - story continues below
It is worth noting that Justice Ginsburg's decision to remain on the court after having health problems instead of retiring during Obama's terms in office created the circumstances now causing so much outrage on the left.
Democratic claims of unfair treatment regarding Supreme Court nominations are intentionally misleading and have created a great deal of confusion among commentators on both sides of the aisle. The informal Senate rule on Supreme Court nominations, known variably as the "Biden Rule" or the "McConnell Rule," concerns a nomination made by a lame-duck president in the months before a general election. The idea behind the rule is that if a president who is legally barred from continuing to serve makes a nomination for a vacancy on the Supreme Court immediately before he is required to vacate the office, the Senate will not take up that nomination. In 2016, Democrats raged at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to allow a vote on Obama nominee Merrick Garland who, it can be argued was treated with tremendous disrespect by Obama when he nominated him for a Supreme Court vacancy for which the leader of the Senate had already said he would not hold a vote until either the Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump administration made a nomination. Democrats now demand McConnell not allow a vote on a Trump Supreme Court nomination, citing the upcoming election. But President Trump is not in a lame-duck status as Obama was in 2016, and the Senate is not controlled by the opposing party, who would be the one to enforce such a rule. The only similarity is an upcoming election.
Even if the informal rule did apply, no serious person believes Democrats would forfeit the opportunity to fill a seat on the Supreme Court if the roles of the parties were reversed. Particularly after Obama, Nancy Pelosi ("We [need] to pass the bill in order to find out what [is] in it" ) and Harry Reid (eliminated the 60-vote requirement for nominations ) ruthlessly enforced Obama's "elections have consequences" entitlement against Republicans.
When Democrats demand President Trump and Senate Republicans defer nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice, they are demanding elected leaders forfeit their electoral duties and give Democrats a chance to seize that opportunity. In the time before Donald Trump, there would have been a strong possibility the GOP establishment would cave to Democrats and the media and be bullied into yielding their right to a Supreme Court selection. That constant surrender is the reason Donald Trump was elected. President Trump was elected to fill Supreme Court vacancies. The Republicans in the U.S. Senate were elected to confirm the president's nominees. No matter how much Democrats and the media try to complicate the matter by misquoting informal rules, threatening institutional change, violence or more sham impeachments, it is exceedingly straightforward.
Advertisement - story continues below
Fill the seat.