Nuclear options

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Martin Blank
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Nuclear options

Post by Martin Blank » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:08 am

The next few months... They may be edge of the seat excitement, ending in (probably) a Biden victory, Democrats retaining the House, and Democrats maybe taking the Senate.

But there's another issue floating over all of this: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She announced a few weeks ago that she underwent treatment for a fifth round of cancer. Whatever you think about her politics, you have to give her mad props for surviving that much.

No one will deny that her future odds are rapidly diminishing. Maybe she has a decade left. Maybe she has two years left.

Maybe she has two months left.

Let's say she makes it past the election, but dies on November 10, 2020. Biden won the election and Democrats have taken 50 seats in the Senate, but that won't take effect until January 3, 2021. McConnell rushes to fill the slot based on Trump's nomination, pushing through the nomination on abbreviated hearings and a rushed vote. On December 30, the Senate approves the new justice by a 51-49 majority. Conservatives take a 6-3 hold of the Supreme Court.

Five days later, the new 50-50 split is sworn in. Nothing happens, because Pence would vote down any alterations. That changes on January 20.

The first vote taken by Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote, ends the filibuster in the Senate. Suddenly, McConnell, who survived his 2020 challenge, has almost no power. The Supreme Court is expanded a few weeks later to eleven. Breyer announces his retirement, effective at the end of the 2020-21 term. Biden gets three appointments to set up a 6-5 split, with both Thomas and Alito approaching life expectancies for their generations. Should Biden or Harris win in 2024, it seems likely that one or both would come up for appointment.

Aside from this, McConnell loses almost all power to block legislation in the Senate. Powerless to make any changes and facing a competitive battle for renomination in 2026, he announces his retirement. The 2026 Kentucky Senate goes down to the wire, the only difference being whether Republicans will have a 43 or 44-seat minority, both of which are equally useless against the Democratic majority, and Republicans face an uphill battle again in 2028, where Democrats have a chance to take back a 60-seat supermajority for the first time in 50 years.

Would McConnell risk the narrow advantage of the minority to hold up legislation for a possibly short-term gain on the Supreme Court?
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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Deacon » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:07 am

Martin Blank wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:08 am
Would McConnell risk the narrow advantage of the minority to hold up legislation for a possibly short-term gain on the Supreme Court?
Yes. Ask Jeff Flake.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Deacon » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:55 pm

Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said, “Indifference to the truth or to the careful stewardship of the institutions of American liberty is not conservative. Disregard for the separation of powers, the centerpiece of our constitutional system, is not not conservative. Governing by tweet is not conservative. It’s not even governing. And to the refrain that, ‘Well, it’s all about the Supreme Court,’ I say to fall back on the Supreme Court appointments as the last remnant by which we define a once vibrant conservative movement should offer little solace to conservatives...

Can any of us stand here today and claim that our party has remained faithful to the conservative principles during the president’s time in office? No, we cannot. If we are honest, there is less of a conservative case to be made for re-electing the president than there is just a blatant appeal for more rank tribalism and further division—and more willful amnesia in the face of more outlandish presidential behavior. I cannot and will not be a part of that. There is simply no future in it.

To my fellow conservatives and Republicans who, like me, believe in the power of conservative ideas, ask yourself: will we be in a better position to make the conservative case for governing after four more years of this administration? I think we all know the answer to that.”

https://www.facebook.com/210277954204/p ... xP2Wq5&d=n

PS Yes, I took the time to transcribe that myself...
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Winterbay_ » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:06 pm

Martin Blank wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:08 am
Maybe she has two months left.
Oh you optimist... :(

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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Martin Blank » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:42 pm

Yeah. I get that way when I drink.

So now that we know that McConnell is lighting his way by burning bridges, let's turn to 2022. In that year, 34 seats will be up, and Biden will be up for judgment. Midterms typically do not favor the incumbent White House party, though the pushback has varied somewhat. The Senate also has a built-in advantage toward Republicans in that rural areas typically vote Republican in the last 20+ years.

However, Democrats will be defending at least 12 and probably 13 seats (presuming Kelly wins Arizona's special election), and Republicans will be defending at least 20 and probably 21 seats (presuming Collins or Loeffler wins in Georgia's special election). Of those seats, three Democrats (Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire) and seven Republicans (Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) won with less than 54% of the vote, putting them at some theoretical risk. Burr (NC) is retiring, throwing NC into a toss-up. Indiana has been drifting rightward, so it's probably not really in play, and Alaska is enamored enough with Murkowski that she's probably not going anywhere, though she didn't get a majority. Most of the rest are straight toss-ups, with maybe a bit of a leftward lean.

Presuming Democrats pull a 51-49 majority in November, they could lose the majority. Going scorched earth to counter McConnell's scorching could exacerbate that. I think the House will still have a Democrat majority come January 3, 2023, but we could easily see a deadlock if Republicans can take two seats back. If they get rid of the filibuster, raise taxes, ram through some controversial laws, and generally piss off Republicans, that could happen.

However... If Biden reaches across the aisle, makes a show of it, and honestly involves at least some Republicans, maybe, just maybe, he can dampen that pushback. Given the right circumstances, he might even pick up a seat or two, and that will be crucial for 2024, when 23 Democrats (including independents) will be up for reelection out of 33 senators, including seven with less than 54% of the vote compared to only four Republicans who were that low.

Democrats probably have the chance to put in place a lot of their vision in 2021-2022, but it's going to be an absolute battleground for the next few years. Democrats' biggest opportunity to hold all power after 2024 will probably be if another Trump wins the Republican nomination. I really hope, though, for the country's sake, that the Republican Party manages to reform itself by then, but I'm sure we haven't heard the last of them.
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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Deacon » Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:36 am

Martin Blank wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:42 pm
If Biden reaches across the aisle, makes a show of it, and honestly involves at least some Republicans, maybe, just maybe, he can dampen that pushback. ... I really hope, though, for the country's sake, that the Republican Party manages to reform itself by then, but I'm sure we haven't heard the last of them.
I see you’ve been drinking, Mr. Optimist.

I really don’t think so. I think the elastic of this country has been damaged by stretching so far to the fringe right. It feels like it would take a Great Depression and a World War type level of cataclysmic world events to snap Republicans back into reality. They’ve been unleashed to revel in their most base impulses without a care in the world, really let their hair down and get comfortable in their gleeful wedgies to “political correctness” (meaning here having the least modicum of respect for anyone marginalized) and rubbing sand into the eyes of anyone not completely in their political clique. I’ve also seen a noticeable increase in those driven by fringe YouTubers and bloggers and social media memes (and Russians) to take on hardcore extremist views and conspiracy theories, ramping up the language and rhetoric used against even moderate conservatives who become painted as traitors and secret leftists. It feels like we’re only a few steps from a new McCarthy.

If Trump wins again, I’m not sure what we’ll look like as a nation, but it won’t be very recognizable even as a sunken-eyed shambling bum who used to be great.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Doc Giggles » Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:36 am

I'm starting to wonder if the Republican party will survive being taken over by the fringe. So may seem all too happy to follow along with actions that could destroy the very fabric our democracy is made from. It wouldn't surprise me if someone were to rise from the center ranks and split the party in half, letting the extremists run off with the old party into the extreme far right where they will fade into a foot note of history.
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Re: Nuclear options

Post by Deacon » Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:11 pm

It wouldn’t surprise me, necessarily, but I’m not sure it’s really feasible. Regular people who vote Republican seem to harbor latent feelings that line up with the fringes, but without the motivation to make a whole thing of it. And most who are disgusted with it can hold their nose and vote blue.

But this is a good example of what I’m talking about. Giving in to the Republicans buys you zero good will, but fighting them shows how they were right about you being evil traitors the whole time. It’s a no-win situation when you’re dealing with people who have no perspective and don’t want any.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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