In wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders, subsequent large protests and noteworthy pushback against Republican legislators in town halls across the country, the agitation that Democrats currently share is evident.
It’s easy for Democrats to place the blame for this current political state on those who voted for Trump. Yet the Democratic Party needs to take time to be introspective, as it is also due to their ineffective message to working-class rural voters and a lack of Democrats getting to the polls in the recent national election.
Provided that senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership don’t “go nuclear” for the Supreme Court voting procedure in the Senate, a term used to describe the process of changing the voting procedure from a supermajority to a simple majority, Republicans need Democratic support to reach a supermajority of 60 votes both to stop a Democratic filibuster and to confirm the nominee.
Democratic leadership could use this sentiment to block the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. An approach that would immediately satisfy the base, the blocking of a confirmation hearing would mimic the immature precedent set by the Republicans, and it would be a regrettable one.
McConnell and Republican Party leadership jumped into the trough when they decided to block Merrick Garland; it’s a lowly political move that is profoundly wrong and it encompasses the ugliest facets of partisan politics. Democrats shouldn’t make the mistake of jumping in and joining them.
Fifty-six percent of Americans still believe Republicans were wrong to block Garland, according to a Quinnipiac poll taken earlier this month. Similar opinion supports Gorsuch in the poll — 65 percent of Americans believe Democrats should allow for a confirmation vote.
With the presidency and congress in Republican control, Democrats have the refreshing opportunity to pick their battles. But political capital would be unnecessarily wasted if they try to block the nomination of the well-regarded jurist, which could negatively affect some of the other causes they will fight for in the near future.
Gorsuch’s conservative bent and originalist philosophy match that of the late Justice Scalia, and there is reason to believe that this might not be Trump’s only appointee, as Justices Kennedy and Bader-Ginsberg are 80 and 83, respectively.
Democrats would be wise to save the fight for if the moderate Kennedy, or the liberal Bader-Ginsberg choose to leave the bench during the Trump presidency, perhaps with a Trump appointee who’d be more contentious.
Additionally, the Democrats should save the fight for the GOP’s vision to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, for women’s rights, for the likely shift in voting rights policies under the controversial Jeff Sessions and for the archaic environmental approach of the Trump Administration in a time where Climate Change is an ever-pressing concern.
Blocking Gorsuch comes across as partisan and immature, whereas the focus on policy challenges can harness grassroots passion and frustration to make meaningful strides in organizing and mobilizing against these GOP changes. It builds a bigger tent rather than deciding, like the Republicans did last year, to simply obstruct because it inconveniences the party’s interests.
That is not to say that Gorsuch should be exempted from the extensive questioning that is asked of any other Supreme Court nominee during his hearing. The Democrats on the committee should probe Gorsuch extensively on how his confirmation would affect important issues such as environmental regulations, abortion, gay rights, civil rights and affirmative action.
By confirming Gorsuch, the Democratic Party can show that it’s a party of reason, which it can leverage for upcoming struggles during the first two years of the Trump administration.