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 TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council 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) ManchinDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Blankenship endorses ex-W.Va. GOP Senate rival, calls him 'lying' drug lobbyist MORE, Indiana’s Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Donnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad MORE, Missouri’s Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma —Senate debates highlight fight over pre-existing conditions | Support grows for Utah Medicaid expansion measure | Arkansas health official defends work requirements McCaskill campaign says ‘intern’ who filmed campaign had access to voter data MORE, Montana’s Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Overnight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report Trump on 'I love you' from rally crowd: 'I finally heard it from a woman' MORE and North Dakota’s Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma —Senate debates highlight fight over pre-existing conditions | Support grows for Utah Medicaid expansion measure | Arkansas health official defends work requirements Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders: Trump setting 'terrible example' for our children Gabbard considering 2020 run: report Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus Stanley KingCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel People have forgotten 'facade' of independent politicians, says GOP strategist Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight MORE (Maine)). But, with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms 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 CollinsConservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns Susan Collins and the mob mentality MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPoll: Palin unpopular in Alaska following jab at Murkowski Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Ex-Florida lawmaker leaves Republican Party MORE (Alaska), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia Corker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE (Tenn.) or Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Watch live: Trump speaks at Arizona rally Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance 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.”