How Mitch McConnell blew it

This month, Sith Lord McConnell has been rushing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. In his mind, this was the politically savvy thing to do, but evidently it has been something of a blunder. With Americans more concerned about COVID affecting the economy than the next president, McConnell faces a political climate that should be punishing to COVID-insensitive politicians like him. And that seems to be playing out.

Calling McConnell tone-deaf to the needs of the American people would be a spectacular understatement. His prioritization of confirming Judge Barrett has come at the cost of the Senate approving another COVID stimulus bill, which he’s managed to avoid now for five months. Support for a second stimulus has come to a head as the US faces a substantial third COVID wave (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/17/us-may-face-substantial-third-wave-of-coronavirus-cases-experts-warn.html) at exactly the time Judge Barrett’s confirmation began. Bad luck for McConnell, then.

To allay public discontent, McConnell has suddenly gained an interested in a second COVID stimulus. But this political game of chicken doesn’t seem to come without a price for Republicans. An NBC opinion article by Susan Del Percio explains this by noting how many Senate Republicans are now scrambling to do damage control:

“[Lindsey] Graham is getting so concerned about re-election that he bucked away from the president . . . Graham tweeted, ‘Time to come together to help America deal with COVID as we move toward a vaccine’ . . . Sen. Pat Toomey announced earlier this month — just four weeks before the election — that he will not be seeking re-election two years from now. This is a big, flashing sign that some Republicans know their gooses are getting rapidly cooked.”

Even a month ago, reports showed that poor government pandemic response was harming Republican Senators. It will be interesting to see just how much worse it’s gotten for them in the polls that appear between now and the election, given the rise of the third COVID wave.

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