It’s the kind of story that makes the left cringe, because it’s the kind of manufactured story that’s designed to make the left cringe for the sake of ratings. Numerous major news outlets reported that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had given in to Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the confirmations of a number of conservative judge nominees. But the context reveals that this is not an honest depiction of what happened.
The Democrats in the Senate, who have forty-nine votes and are not able to filibuster judicial confirmation hearings, have no ability to stop Trump and McConnell from confirming judges. There is literally nothing the Democrats can do to stop this. The Democrats have been dragging out the most controversial nominees as long as possible, but this hasn’t actually stopped anyone from being confirmed, and it won’t stop anyone; it’s merely been an act of symbolic defiance.
Late last month, Schumer did announce that the Senate Democrats wouldn’t bother making the symbolic gesture of dragging out the nominations of fifteen of McConnell’s least controversial nominees. He stated that this would allow Senate Democrats who are up for reelection to go home for a few extra days and campaign. The key words are a few extra days. That’s all the Democrats could stall each of these nominations for. Again, there is literally no way the Democrats could have stopped these fifteen people from becoming judges, or delayed it past the midterm elections, or have even delayed it by more than a few days.
There are those on the left who don’t think the Democrats are doing a good job unless they’re setting themselves on fire at all times, even when there’s nothing to gain. Chuck Schumer is more reality-based than that, and he’s more interested in winning a Senate majority than he is in setting his hair on fire 24/7. When it comes to these fifteen judges, the media is dishonestly reporting it as Schumer ‘caving’ to Trump, because such stories create dissension within the left, and are thus good for ratings.
This move by Schumer has no bearing whatsoever on the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation. That’s a far more complex process, and all indications are that the Democrats will use every tool at their disposal to try to derail it. If anything, Schumer is casting aside an empty and long-ago-lost fight over these fifteen non-controversial judges, in order to focus on the bigger upcoming fight. Meanwhile, the media continues to manufacture dissension within the left, because it’s always been one of the easiest ways to turn a non-story into ratings gold.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report