Maybe the committee vote is today, and the Senate vote is over the weekend, but make no mistake: this was decided on November 8, 2016. Everything else is just chicanery. The GOP majority in the Senate can put whomever they want on the Supreme Court, because in the final analysis, the Snowes and Collinses and Flakes will always fold. Let me repeat: they will always fold. No Republican is willing to be the one whose vote causes the party to lose.
This election was always going to be felt hardest and longest in the Supreme Court. This is what the GOP has campaigned on and fought for since the time of Earl Warren: the prospect of getting a permanent unelected majority who can deliver both political decisions like Bush v Gore and economic ones for the business donors. Who knows, they might even apply death by a thousand cuts to Roe or Obergefell – not so much that Trump’s mistress can’t get an abortion or Cheney’s daughter can’t get married, but enough so that if you live below the Whiffle Line, you’ll be bound by their will. If anything happens to Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the next two years, or if Trump gets reelected in 2020, you can expect a redneck-conservative majority for the rest of our lives.
Something’s got to give, when voting doesn’t matter. Nixon got elected with a minority in 1968, but he had the most votes – more than Humphrey, more than Wallace. Bill Clinton never had a majority, but he had the most votes – more than Bush or Dole or Perot. They both got to be President. Gore had more votes than Bush, but it availed him nothing, and Hillary had a bigger margin of the popular vote than that – and it availed her even less. Setting aside all the other nonsense around how we got here with Trump, the simple fact is that the second-place finisher now has gotten to put as many people on the Supreme Court in two years as Obama did in eight. A democratic political system cannot survive minoritatian rule. It just can’t. It will break, and then either be repaired or you’ll get something else. Which you may wish you hadn’t.
I swear I thought we were past this in 2012. Every election since 2004 has been increasingly stressful because it’s felt like we were fighting off an enemy that somehow got more powerful every time they lost the White House, and every mid-term has been increasingly stressful since 2010 because they always gained more power in the meantime. I mean, Bush never broke 50% approval from the moment he was re-elected, so how did he get re-elected? Trump was a figure of fun right up to election day, he shouldn’t have been able to catch Hillary with a motorcycle, and yet? Now…I don’t know. If the Democrats can’t capture at least one house of Congress in November, it’ll be time to start looking really hard at what you can buy your way into through the Malta Sovereign Wealth Fund, or see what the residency requirements are like in Ireland, or hope there’s someplace in Australia that isn’t hot as balls.
Because right now, Trump is as popular as the clap, and the GOP is doing everything he wanted (which is basically everything Fox News ever wanted, because Trump is just as smart as whatever the TV tells him), and a majority of the country is against that. If that majority can’t find expression at the ballot box, the alternatives are not pleasant. I would just as soon not be around for them.