Filibuster On Gorsuch Has No Real Winners


Having won a victory on healthcare as the GOP’s American Health Care Act fizzled ahead of its vote, the Democratic Party is celebratory and keyed up for confrontation. With Donald Trump and Paul Ryan still nursing their wounds, liberal leaders are hoping to score points and reinvigorate their voters after a dismal showing in the 2016 elections. A tremendous opportunity awaits: Filibustering Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Currently, Senate Democrats have enough votes (41) to prevent the Republican Party from invoking cloture and ending a filibuster. This will force Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to invoke the nuclear option of permanently changing the Senate rules to end said filibuster. While this would indeed get Gorsuch, who has 55 votes in favor of confirmation, on the Supreme Court, it would change Senate procedure.

The Democrats must decide whether or not to filibuster and risk McConnell changing the Senate’s filibuster rules. Such a maneuver would put the Democrats at a disadvantage as long as the Republicans remained the majority party, for the Dems would lose just about any opportunity to filibuster. Public opinion could also be cruel to Democrats, who might be seen as vindictive and immature. 

During the Obama presidency, much ado was made about the GOP being the “party of no” and actively attempting to obstruct virtually anything the Democrats tried to accomplish, especially regarding healthcare. The media, which was decidedly liberal, tried to portray Republicans as sore losers… and perhaps a little bit racist to boot. Can the Democrats take a page out of the 2009-2016 Republican playbook without being tainted by the same bad reputation?

Right now, Donald Trump is so controversial that Democrats may be able to get away with just about any obstruction of his initiatives. However, the public will likely tire of this before long and insist that the Dems either need to win a majority in the House or Senate… or start to compromise. It is likely that liberal leaders realize this and are therefore strategizing on using their political capital right now. A fiery Democratic filibuster less than three months into Trump’s term will invigorate the public, but such a maneuver three years into Trump’s term would only elicit weary groans.

As such, expect Senate Dems to fight Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation with everything they can, including the filibuster. They may also be counting on such a maneuver to provoke President Trump into making hostile and offensive remarks, hurting the GOP’s overall image. The filibuster could be seen as an attempt to bait Republicans into vitriol that could hurt their reputation among moderates and independents.

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