Here’s a fun fact:
“Both of the last two Republican presidents—Bush and Trump—have lost the popular vote, and yet each nominated two Supreme Court justices, who have been confirmed by the votes of senators who represent a minority of the American people.” So a fifth member of SCOTUS confirmed in this way will “create a solid majority on the court, which can then unwind the legal framework that a majority of Americans still supports.”
Wait, did I say, “fun”?
Sorry, I meant to say, “grotesque travesty of logic and a trampling of basic civil rights.”
I get those things confused sometimes.
Yes, the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave it her best shot, but she couldn’t quite hold on until January, when a potential President Biden could nominate a replacement who wouldn’t, for example, possess a “deep, deep contempt for the rights of voters” or insist that “it’s time for Roe v. Wade to go.”
No, that probably would not happen.
Of course, the idea that the death of one octogenarian woman means the collapse of decades of social progress does not, in any way, indicate that America’s political system is a pathetic façade that autocrats can twist and contort at will.
Ok, maybe it does.
You see, the supposed principles of America, and our theoretically strong institutions, are not just a house of cards, but a tower of water-soaked jokers, perched upon a shit-covered dog trying to scratch itself in unpleasant places.
I think you’ll agree that this is indeed a shaky foundation.
And yet many of us have placed our faith in these systems, and in the people who were entrusted with running them. Our reward for this delusion was a parade of Republicans who did everything but slap our naïve faces for believing—even for a slice of a nanosecond—that they would refrain from indulging in a blatant, salivating power grab.
I mean, a few GOP senators offered tortured rationales for their inconsistency—something about this event being different than 2016—but those reasons quickly devolved into a MC Escher contortion of self-serving nonsense.
However, most Republicans didn’t even bother to reconcile their torpedoing of Merrick Garland then with their embrace of rushing through a confirmation today.
And many GOP senators flat-out reveled in their hypocrisy. They thought it was just fucking hilarious that Americans would believe they might be men of their word. Just a scream.
So what happens now, when the Republican Party has revealed—for about the 883rd time—that they don’t really care about democracy, decency, or effective governance?
Well, there’s a lot of talk about the Democrats stacking the court, and indeed, some of them may just be pissed off enough to try it. But come on—we’re talking about the Democratic Party here. Most of their leaders think Joe Biden is too progressive, and that we all have to continue worshipping the white working class, and that making Republicans angry is so upsetting that it’s better to cower in the corner and avoid doing anything too “radical.”
So no, I highly doubt that you will see Democrats re-impeach Trump tomorrow, or ram through four liberal justices in January, or do much of anything beyond pout and ask Middle America to please love them.
But of course, even if there were some way to stop Trump’s third appointment in four years, it would be a stopgap. Because we need to go deeper.
Gentlemen’s agreements about how to run the country don’t work when one side is just fine with fascism, racism, and armed vigilantes in the streets. Lifetime appointments for justices who love theocracy is not a workable idea. Pinning our hopes on a 250-year-old document that is impossible to amend is not a productive approach. And hoping that a system engineered to keep rich white men in power will somehow reform itself is not a comforting plan.
If the age of Trump has taught us anything, it is that all options have to be considered. Because the Republicans have figured this out already, and they think it’s cute if you don’t see it that way.
Yes, it’s simply adorable.
Featured image: Mitch McConnell watching President Donald Trump give a speech (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)