Press: Democrats must hang tough on high court pick

Press: Democrats must hang tough on high court pick
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A dangerous myth has infiltrated American politics. We hear it whenever the issue of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE’s latest appointment to the Supreme Court is raised.

It goes like this: Senate Democrats up for reelection from red states this year have no choice. They MUST vote for Donald Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, or else they will lose their bid for reelection. Whether or not they continue to serve in the Senate all depends on how they vote on the court.

Nonsense! There is no political data — none! — to support that premise, which was probably cooked up by some Republican consultant to scare the hell out of Democrats. I defy anyone to come up with one example of a senator who’s lost his or her seat because of how they voted on a Supreme Court nominee. The argument they’d automatically do so is pure bunk.


But, so far, it seems to be working. No sooner had Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench than many Democrats simply threw in the towel, saying there was no way they could stop Trump. Why? Because at least five Democrats running in red states — West Virginia’s Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGeorge Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff Energy companies cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline Trump nominee faces Senate hurdles to securing public lands post MORE, Indiana’s Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE, Missouri’s Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns MORE, Montana’s Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterInternal poll shows tight battle in Montana House race Bipartisan Senate group offers bill to strengthen watchdog law after Trump firings Senate confirms Trump's watchdog for coronavirus funds MORE and North Dakota’s Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE — have no choice but to vote for Trump’s nominee.

Again, wrong, wrong, wrong. Consider the math. It’s an uphill battle, to be sure, but by no means impossible for Democrats to block Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. The current Senate line-up is 51 Republicans and, in effect, 49 Democrats (counting Independent Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTammy Duckworth is the epitome of the American Dream On The Money: Deficit rises to record .7 trillion amid pandemic: CBO | Democrats sidestep budget deal by seeking 0B in emergency spending | House panel advances spending bill with funding boost to IRS Biden-Sanders unity task force calls for Fed, US Postal Service consumer banking MORE (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus KingData shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs The Hill's Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Reid Wilson says political winners are governors who listened to scientists and public health experts; 12 states record new highs for seven-day case averages McConnell on filibuster talk: Democrats want to 'vandalize' Senate rules MORE (Maine)). But, with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll MORE (R-Ariz.) battling brain cancer and unlikely to return, that makes it 50-49. Which means Democrats need to pick up only ONE Republican vote — most likely Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Senators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops MORE (Alaska), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (Tenn.) or Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (Ariz.) — to win the day. But only if all 49 Democrats hang tough.

Can Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester and McCaskill vote “no” and still survive? Absolutely. Here’s how. First, don’t apologize or make excuses for voting against Trump on such an important issue. Instead, brag about it. Make it a positive part of the campaign. Remind voters: You did not elect me to be a rubber-stamp for any president, Republican or Democrat. You elected me to do what’s best for the people of our state. And that’s what I’m doing.

Second, tell people what’s at stake. This is not just some popularity contest for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. This is about life and death issues which will have a profound impact on every American. As The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin notes, if anybody on Trump’s list of 25 potential nominees is confirmed, the newly constituted court could be expected to overrule Roe v. Wade and allow states to prosecute any physicians and nurses who perform abortions; allow shopkeepers or restaurants to refuse service to LGBTQ Americans; enable universities to accept fewer African-American and Latino students; approve laws designed to make it more difficult to vote; expand exercise of the death penalty; and prohibit states from adopting any sensible form of gun control, even the banning of bump stocks.

Surely, it’s not so difficult for red-state Democrats to make the argument that protecting fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans is more important than an automatic show of loyalty to any president. The only thing preventing Democrats from blocking Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is not the math. It’s the backbone to prevent the court from moving backward.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”