For years, newspapers have written about the “Tea Party” running and ruining the Republican Party. While those stories were completely overblown, there seems to be some truth to the far left ruining the Democrat Party by demanding nonsensical things against the wishes of the majority of Democrats.
Let’s take as one example: potential obstruction of President Trump’s qualified and popular Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch. On the far left there are people like Al Sharpton demanding obstruction indefinitely.
“They can stall as long as they want till their man gets in the White House,” Sharpton continued.
On the other side, you have the number two Democrat in the Senate Dick Durbin stating:
“The base wants me to reject him out of hand,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the body’s No. 2 Democrat, who will meet with Judge Gorsuch on Tuesday. “I don’t think that serves the country well.”
So individual senators are stuck between doing what is right for their country and their constituents versus appeasing their far-left base. A great example is Senator Sheehan of New Hampshire.
Last week, Shaheen said, "Everybody I've talked to agrees he should get a hearing and an up-or-down vote."
As the ninth Democrat committed to bringing Gorsuch's nomination to a vote, Shaheen would have guaranteed that Democrats would not be able to sustain a filibuster. White House press secretary Sean Spicer welcomed her decision and hopes more Democrats would join her.
So Shaheen flip-flopped. She tweeted to Spicer that she only meant a cloture vote.
. . .
That's just not true. An "up-or-down vote" in the Senate means a vote to confirm the nominee, not a procedural vote to close debate. Shaheen knows better. She just hopes the rest of us don't.
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri did a similar tweet and now she is using a more extreme tactic in an effort to get the base off her back.
“I’m not talking about the Supreme Court nominee at all, in any way,” Ms. McCaskill said. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
If the Senators ignore their constituencies and cave to the extremists in their party, Republicans have a strong case to end the 60-vote filibuster. As the Fix’s Aaron Blake writes in the Washington Post:
And as I've written, an unprecedented Supreme Court filibuster against a clearly
qualified and likable nominee would just give Republicans a good excuse to do away more of the filibuster.
If Democrats have a cohesive strategy, they’re hiding it.