To tell you the truth, I have been largely absent from the political news of the week – the Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett – because I live in south Louisiana, and we have been picking up the pieces after what feels like our sixteenth named hurricane to make landfall this year (I have a lot of thoughts on that, so stick around for a column on that later).
Right up until Hurricane Delta, I had planned on paying attention to the hearings and covering them along with my colleagues here at RedState (who have done an admirable job of covering them). Going into the hearings, I think we all expected a lot of fireworks and craziness to erupt, thanks to a Democratic Party that is terrified of the Affordable Care Act getting overturned, as well as a possible end of Roe v. Wade as we know it. Many of those antics were the ones that we saw during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and while we haven’t been blessed with the same bombshells that were dropped during those hearings, we have gotten to see some of the attacks Democrats are leveling at Barrett.
And, I must say, it’s rather… boring, isn’t it? These sound a lot like normal, partisan games being played over a Supreme Court nominee. They do not sound like the type of partisan games you’d expect to be played when Obamacare and Roe v. Wade are on the line. Why is that?
Back in 2018, the Democrats led an absolute train wreck of a circus in the Kavanaugh hearings. As a result of that, in a year when voters handed over control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats, they expanded the Republican Party’s majority in the Senate. While I absolutely abhor the idea of “mandates” in modern political elections, it seemed pretty clear that Democrats were being punished for the shenanigans they pulled there.
While it is (probably?) much harder to accuse someone like Barrett of sexually assaulting someone or running a rape train or anything like the accusations thrown at Justice Kavanaugh, you would expect something explosive meant to derail the whole process. But we’re not seeing that, and I think that’s significant. It could mean two things: 1) The Democrats quietly realized how badly they messed up during the Kavanaugh hearings and 2) the Democrats know their lead in the 2020 elections is not as significant as they would like you to believe.
In particular, polling is in Biden’s favor, but not by a large enough margin that Democrats should feel comfortable, and I think that the rather lame levels of attack they’re waging against Barrett are a hint that they know they have lost this one, so they want to just stick to talking points (healthcare, abortion, and gun control) and not try to completely destroy the reputation of a judge solely to blow up the confirmation hearings.
That is also the reason you have many Democrats (and their best friends in the media) trying to redefine the term “packing the courts” to mean “a bunch of conservative judges getting confirmed to lifetime seats.” It is less about winning right now and more about winning in a little less than a month. Lose the current battle (to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) to win the war (the 2020 election).
It is, however, an outright admission that they are still very beatable going into November, and Republicans are picking up on it. You see them pushing back aggressively and going after Democrats in ways they might not have prior to this, because they see that Democrats are vulnerable.
That is a good sign for Senate Republicans, who could lose as many as seven seats in November, but could – with the right turn of events – maintain their hold on the Senate. It also bodes well for Trump, if he can stay on message and join his party in pushing back against the Democrats with clear, targeted messaging.
In short, the war for the Senate and the White House isn’t over yet.