On Friday, I was ending what had been a pretty good week. Polls for the election were encouraging; Trump’s bogus law and order campaign was not gaining traction; I mailed 20 more postcards to swing voters; I did my first phone banking for the Biden-Harris campaign; and donated to two extremely fun events for the Wisconsin Democrats, The Princess Bride and the Parks and Recreation virtual reunions. I counted my blessings as I got ready to celebrate the Jewish New Year, top of that list being the health of my large, extended family. And then I heard the news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Not only did I feel a profound sadness at the passing of such a champion for human rights, but my heart sank at the knowledge of how this might upend the election. I posted on Facebook, “This is bad on so many levels.”
McConnell immediately issued a statement that there would be a vote on the Senate floor for Trump’s nominee. It just deepened my despair. That night on the news, much of the discussion was on the question of how and if the GOP could ram through a hearing and a vote in such a short time. The obvious hypocrisy of even considering this less than 50 days before an election given they had refused a hearing to Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016, 400 days before an election, was obvious to everyone. And yes, I felt sick at the prospect of a conservative super-majority on the Supreme Court and what this would mean to the very fabric of our rights in this country.
But I felt more sick at what I think is the likely scenario. There will be a lot of talk of a vote but it won’t happen because not having a vote gives Trump more of an advantage coming into the election. And it gives him an advantage in two ways. First, he has been looking for some shiny object to distract the public away from his criminal mismanagement of COVID. The tantalizing possibility of a conservative super-majority on the Supreme Court does that. And second, all the evangelicals, moderate Republicans, conservative Hispanics and Catholics who had been moving away from Trump because of his corruption and vulgarity and the death of almost 200,000 Americans, will now … [more]