You might say the Trump campaign and evangelical right are playing right into the progressives’ hands with the new chatter about Trump agitating for a Supreme Court nomination before the election. Trump believes he could shore up the rabid base and get back older voters and (get this) women with a new Supreme Court justice, particularly if he chooses a woman. Because we are ready to have a fight over the Supreme Court, one that would leave a lot of Senate Republicans very bruised.
Trump is raging, apparently, about Chief Justice John Roberts, who helped deliver three big defeats in the past weeks on Dreamers, LGBTQ rights, and abortion. "So far, we’re not doing so well," he told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week. "It says, look, you've had a lot of losses with a court that was supposed to be in our favor." The Supreme Court is supposed to be his, and do his bidding. It's not so much that he cares about all these evangelical issues, but dammit, he's not supposed to be thwarted by his court.
He's also hearing from the right-wingers regularly that he has been wronged. Like from Mike Huckabee, who tweeted that Roberts has "stabbed the American people in the back" and should "Resign Now." American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp says: "If it were up to me, I'd start impeachment proceedings against John G. Roberts Jr. […] If he's not going to be impeached, he ought to resign and run for Congress." Interesting to see the right embrace impeaching judges, huh? There're one or two who might make good candidates for the left. Like Brett Kavanaugh, who lied his way through two different sets of confirmation hearings on his way to the SCOTUS.
Progressive groups are pushing to have the Supreme Court become a key election issue. They’ve created a new nonprofit advocacy project: Supreme Court Voter. It's kicking off with a $2 million digital advertising blitz in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. "We can’t afford any more Brett Kavanaughs, or our court will be his court," one ad says over an image of Trump. "The future of the Supreme Court is on the line." Members from Demand Justice, American Federation of Teachers, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Voto Latino, the National Women’s Law Center, and Justice Democrats comprise the advisory board for the effort, and it's boosted by the participation of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "The Supreme Court Voter project gives us a chance to mobilize progressives, stop Donald Trump's takeover of our courts and create a fairer more equal and just America," she said in a statement for the project’s debut.
Organizers of the project have done polling through Hart Research Associates, finding "overwhelming concern" from progressives and independents about more Trump Supreme Court justices. "The prospect of him being able to put one or two more justices on the Supreme Court is really a powerful image and scenario as a motivator for people to really care about this election,” said Guy Molyneux, senior vice president at Hart. He added that Kavanugh is especially "powerful as a symbol for a liberal audience of what is wrong with the court." Take that, Susan Collins.
Which takes us back to Trump wanting another Supreme Court fight before November, which so far McConnell is welcoming. Should an opening occur (and there're rumors from the right that Justice Samuel Alito is looking at retirement), Trump is going to want to nominate a fire-breathing, evangelical, far-right activist. McConnell says he'll fit that nomination in—in less than three months before the election—after adopting the supposed rule that a Supreme Court nomination couldn't be considered in an election year when Barack Obama was president.
If Trump and McConnell want to have that fight—at the same time Trump is arguing before the Supreme Court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be overturned! In the middle of a pandemic!—bring it. We'll take that fight.