Each time the Senate is on the verge of a narrow vote, the pundits start trying to create apprehension on the left by asking if Democratic Senators from red states might end up with the Republicans. It’s happened again with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation vote. In reality, that’s never a factor in the outcome of a Senate vote. But that door just got slammed shut anyway.
While it’s true that Democratic Senators from red states do sometimes vote with the Republicans, they do it in instances where their vote isn’t going to change the outcome anyway. That way people like Doug Jones and Joe Manchin can go back to conservative places like Alabama and West Virginia, and tell the voters in the middle that they fulfilled their promise to work with both sides. No harm is done, because again, they only do this when their vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
It’s the same story with the Brett Kavanaugh vote. While it’s true that Kavanaugh’s far-right views are popular in red states, Democratic Senators are not going to put him on the Supreme Court. If it came down to the wire and the Republicans had the 51 votes they needed, then yeah, maybe they’d consider voting for him, since it wouldn’t matter one bit anyway. This kind of thing always prompts certain progressives to get angry, but again, back in the real world, it doesn’t matter one bit whether something passes by 51-49 vote or a 52-48 vote.
However, because artificially concocted consternation is good for ratings, we’ve heard one too many cable news pundits suggesting that the Red State Democrats might actually put Brett Kavanaugh over the top. It’s easy for the pundits to milk this for all it’s worth, because the Red State Democrats do have to spend the entire time acting like they haven’t yet made up their minds. In any case, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill from the red state of Missouri announced tonight that she’s a firm “no” on Kavanaugh.
Neither Claire McCaskill nor any other Red State Democrat was going to be the deciding vote on Brett Kavanaugh, because that’s not how any of this works. But it is noteworthy that McCaskill is already announcing that she’s a “no.” It tells us that she thinks this nomination has become so radioactive, her Republican opponent won’t be able to score points against her by pointing out that she rejected Kavanaugh before the hearings even ended.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report