The ACB paradox and the suburban vote
The Judiciary Committee has a rule of sorts that allows any senator on the committee to request that a vote on a nominee be held over for a full week. Given that Republicans are moving at warp speed to implant Amy Coney Barrett into the Supreme Court, there was an open question as to whether Chairman Lindsey Graham would allow that, or force a vote at the end of last week. In the end, he allowed the delay, which means the committee vote won’t come until the end of this coming week.
The why of his decision gets into the bifurcated nature of our politics. The longer the fight drags out, the better it is for Lindsey Graham, who is using the Republican desire to see her confirmed as a lifeline for his sinking campaign and career. So the closer he can push the vote to Election Day, the longer he can remind people in South Carolina that he’s doing the bidding of Trump and the conservative movement, hoping they forget that he’s a long-time buddy of Joe Biden who used to love cutting deals with Democrats on everything from immigration to climate change. In fact, the climate bill that came closest to passing the Senate was called Kerry-Graham-Lieberman. Best the right in South Carolina forget all about that.
I covered the hearings this week, and wrote about how Amy Coney Barrett’s framing of the Voting Rights Act nakedly exposes her entire judicial philosophy as a cynical lie.
Meanwhile, Graham’s opponent, Jamie Harrison, is using some of his endless money to remind right-wing South Carolina voters that there’s a third-party candidate on the ballot who opposes all abortion, offers unwavering support to Trump, and countenances no restrictions at all on the Second Amendment. Pretty clever.
That phenomenon -- that the same story line can help candidates among rock-ribbed Republicans but hurt them in the suburbs with moderates -- played out at the end of the 2018 midterms with Trump’s caravan of migrants and the fight over Kavanaugh. It helped a few GOP senators in deep red states, but hurt GOP candidates in House swing seats. If it pushes suburban voters closer to Democrats, that could actually help the party everywhere from Texas to Kansas and Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Georgia, and North Carolina, even if it might help Graham. The big wild card, of course, is where the careening Hunter Biden corruption story goes.
The confirmation fight is unfolding against the backdrop of a looming battle with Big Tech, which the Supreme Court could end up playing a major role in. In this week’s podcast, I interview Ilyse Hogue of NARAL about the 50-year long-game from the right that led to this moment, and also talk to Luther Lowe, senior vice president for public policy at Yelp, about what Big Tech does to not-as-big tech, and how that shapes our world. Hope you give it a listen. And subscribe!
We also put out a bonus episode this week on the Trump campaign’s own Hunter Biden corruption problem. If Democrats had any sense, they’d play this to the hilt to counteract what’s coming.
The full story -- “China’s Man in Washington” -- is a great read.
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