Friday, March 18, 2016

Republican lemmings?

Andrew Koppelman

Contrary to what you may have heard, lemmings do not actually hurl themselves into the sea en masse.  Do Republicans?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reaffirmed his pledge that the Senate will ignore Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Let the next President decide after the election, McConnell says.  So far, he has done a pretty effective job of holding his caucus together in support of that strategy, even though most Americans, including a majority of Republicans, would like the hearings to move forward.

But he also says this:

“Mr. McConnell has begun preparing senators for the prospect of a Trump nomination, assuring them that, if it threatened to harm them in the general election, they could run negative ads about Mr. Trump to create space between him and Republican senators seeking re-election.” 

His logic is clear.  Trump is massively unpopular:  it appears that a fifth of Republicans dislike him so much that they would prefer any other candidate.  He is viewed unfavorably by 60% of Americans.  (Perhaps the best case that can be made on behalf of Trump is that there are a lot of awful human beings in this country, and they’re entitled to a little representation.) If he gets the nomination – and that now appears unavoidable - he is almost sure to lose the election.  So Republican legislators don’t want to be tied to Trump for the same reason that you don’t want to be tied to an anchor that’s been dropped into the ocean.

Do you see the contradiction?

I explain in a column just published on, here.

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