A sweeping new report today from ProPublica reveals that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted a massive amount of benefits over the years from wealthy right wing donors. This kind of brazen corruption from Thomas is shocking yet not at all surprising. And it may have just changed the game – though not in the way that one might be expecting.
There are, and will continue to be, widespread calls for Clarence Thomas to resign over this scandal. But he’s already shown that he has no shame. The only way he’ll ever resign is if it’s specifically to try to keep himself, or his wife, from being criminally prosecuted. While it’s entirely possible that the DOJ will prosecute Thomas for these illegal benefits, and it’s entirely possible that the DOJ is already criminally targeting Ginni Thomas for election fraud, these are not things that we can simply sit back and count on – at least not in the short term.
For as long as we’re stuck with Clarence Thomas, we need to use him to our advantage. He’s already the poster child for right wing extremism. Now we get to make him the poster child for Supreme Court corruption. The guy took free luxury flights from donors, and then voted the way they wanted him to. It’s the kind of straightforward political corruption that even the most nonpartisan of Americans can easily understand. It’s a rallying cry garnering broad majority support for expanding the Supreme Court to work around the fact that this corrupt bastard refuses to resign.
So let’s use this Clarence Thomas thing to our advantage. Let’s stick to winning messaging. Now is not a time to yell “He’s getting away with it all” or “Nothing will happen to this guy.” Now is the time to yell “Let’s MAKE something happen and work around this guy.”
If we frame this Clarence Thomas scandal correctly, we can use it to win big in 2024. We’re already in a strong position to keep the Presidency and win the House. And in the Senate, we can have enough votes to strike the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court just by replacing Sinema with Ruben Gallego and keeping all the other seats that the Democrats currently hold.
So this is how we do it. Clarence Thomas has always been corrupt. We’ve always known that. But it turns out he was stupid enough to leave an obvious trail of corruption that we can now use against him. Let’s make Clarence Thomas the poster child for 2024. We can use his latest scandal to take back control of the Supreme Court whether he resigns or not.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report