'Scranton v Park Avenue' is Biden's best campaign issue - not the supreme court
With the death of the US supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last Friday, the stakes of November’s election are more obvious than ever. If Trump retains control of the presidency, most likely through a win in the electoral college but loss in the popular vote, that will cement minority Republican rule for a generation. Abortion rights, healthcare legislation, labor protections and voting rights will all be directly impacted.
Democratic partisans are acutely aware of this fact. ActBlue, the party’s most important fundraiser, raised more than $100m from 1.5 million individuals since Ginsburg’s passing. For some, like the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, Ginsburg’s death means that Democrats need to ratchet up their rhetoric about the courts and foreground their plans for significant institutional reform. If Democrats can take the Senate, Toobin suggests, then the filibuster must be abolished, Washington DC and Puerto Rico granted statehood, the number of lower-court federal judges expanded, and the supreme court be packed with three more judges. On the latter point, at least, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, agrees, saying that “everything is on the table”.
Many of the same commentators and strategists getting on board with plans like court-packing think that Biden should be trying to appeal to moderate Republican suburban voters. But there is an unacknowledged tension here: Ginsburg’s passing will likely limit defections from the small cadre of Republicans who find Trump distasteful enough to contemplate a Biden vote. Many of these voters may think a conservative court is ...
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