Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to blackmail Democrats over the upcoming vote on Russian asset Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Democrats are responding with a resounding “meh.”
Those Democrats are demanding upward of a million pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s career, including the years he was working in the often-lawless Bush administration. So there might be something in those documents that McConnell definitely does not want to see brought to light. He’s telling Democrats that if they continue to demand these documents, he’ll put off the vote to as close to the November midterms as possible, giving them little time to campaign for re-election.
One of McConnell’s trusty manservants, John Thune (R-SD) clarified that yes, it is entirely about politics, because it is impossible for a Republican to believe that a senator might want to take their vote on a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court seriously enough to review their entire record. “To me,” Thune said, “it’s in their best interest to have that vote done for a lot of their red-state senators who are facing their voters. … One is, you’re stuck here, you can’t get home. And two, the vote is going to be of significant consequence in a lot of those races. I don’t know how it’s to their benefit to drag it out.”
Democrats are betting that there’s a lot in those records that will prove to be of benefit, just like with lower court nominee Ryan Bounds. That’s the nominee whose nomination the White House was forced to withdraw Thursday, literally moments before his scheduled vote. A close review of his record demonstrated that he was such a racist asshole that even one Republican had to oppose him. There’s also the part about holding this nominee to the same standard as the Senate did with previous nominees, like Elena Kagan whose records as President Obama’s solicitor general required an examination of nearly 200,000 records.
Anyway, at least one Democrat isn’t particularly intimidated by this threat. “It doesn’t bother me either way, whatever they do,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said. “The vote’s going to be taken, sooner or later.” Democrats are looking at McConnell’s rush to get Kavanaugh seated as evidence that there’s probably a larger downside for Republicans in having this nomination drag out than for Democrats. Kavanaugh is already going to be hauling a lot of baggage just by virtue of being nominated by Trump. Every additional crazy thing Trump does between now and then, like proposing to bring Vladimir Putin to the country weeks before the election, is going to pile on. And who knows what bombshells are awaiting from Mueller. McConnell’s threat is definitely an empty one.