Schumer is fighting an uphill battle in his quest to vanquish Brett Kavanaugh’s journey to the Supreme Court. To do so he needs every Democratic vote in the Senate and at least one RINO Republican to join him.
But the problem is Schumer has several red and purple state Democrats who are trying to keep their distance from him in order to survive the November elections. And right now they are vocally pushing back against being tied to him in any way on the upcoming Kavanaugh vote:
POLITICO – Chuck Schumer says he’s going to fight Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court with “everything I’ve got.” To do so, he’ll need to get centrist Democrats to hold the line.
The minority leader’s problem? Those Democrats say he can’t tell them what to do.
“I’ll be 71 years old in August, you’re going to whip me? Kiss my you know what,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) when asked if Schumer can influence his vote.
Kavanaugh’s nomination is already a huge headache for the Senate minority leader. Not only is he under pressure from the left to tank the nominee, Schumer also has a half-dozen vulnerable members from red and purple states up for reelection this fall. To defeat Kavanaugh, Schumer has to keep all 49 of his members in tow and convince at least one moderate Republican to break ranks.
But it could prove impossible for Schumer to persuade senators like Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana to vote against Kavanaugh. All three supported Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch last year, and all three say that their decision won’t be swayed by Schumer no matter what he does this year.
“My decision won’t have anything to do with Chuck Schumer,” Donnelly said.
“I’m going to vote the way I’m going to vote regardless of what the leader says,’ Heitkamp said.
It may be good politics for them to distance themselves from Schumer, who is close to the caucus’s moderates and helped elect many of them. Republicans are attacking vulnerable Democrats for their association with Schumer, so they‘re doing what they can do create daylight from a party leader that all of them voted for in the most recent leadership election.
Yet that distance will hamstring Schumer’s ability to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination. If his red-state Democrats vote “no” on Kavanaugh, they’ll inevitably be accused of kowtowing to the New Yorker.
Schumer and Durbin know they have to use kid gloves…
Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that’s reason enough for Schumer to tread carefully with the Democrats most likely to back President Donald Trump’s nominee.
“Chuck knows better [than to twist arms] and I do, too,” Durbin said. “These are men and women who will make an historic, important, legal and personal judgment.”
Schumer declined to comment for this story. But for now, Democrats say, it looks like Schumer agrees with Durbin on a hands-off approach.
This is going to be a tough battle for Schumer to win, especially since Trump picked a nominee that moderate Republicans won’t have many issues to keep them from voting for him. I suspect he’ll sail through and get all Republican votes.
And considering how these red and purple state Dems have already voted for Gorsuch, it’s going to be near impossible for them to explain how they voted against Kavanaugh without looking like partisan hacks doing the bidding of their blue state New York master.
I really like Republican chances to confirm Kavanaugh. But McConnell should never underestimate the ability of his RINO members to go full RINO on Kavanaugh. He needs to do his part to keep Schumer from wooing members like Murkowski and Collins.