Mon. May 23rd, 2022

The Democratic Party is heading into the midterms as divided as they want to be. Here, the Arizona Democratic Party follows their Republican counterparts from last year by censuring one of their own, Sen. Krysten Sinema.

Any political party in control of every branch of government faces a daunting challenge in off year elections. For that reason, at least the Supreme Court, having tilted so dramatically in a new and socially conservative vector, may give the Democratic Party a variety of issues to  explore.

However, if 2021 and the first three weeks of 2022 are any indication, Democrats are no more interested in exploring the principles and policies that have wide support amongst the American people than they are in sharpening their criticisms of Republican lawmakers, Republican obstruction, and the conservative activist judicial philosophy that runs contrary to a modern America. The modern Republican Party has one pillar, and it is appears to be desperation to appease a backward looking former president and his millions of followers.

At least Arizona’s Democratic Party isn’t censuring a widow of one of the most well known and admired senators in America, John McCain. Republicans did just that a year ago today. Again, proof of their consistent desperation that lingers still today. There is not a bridge that they won’t burn. Perhaps, the Democratic Party is looking for their own bridges to burn.

It is shortsighted of Dems to believe that they aren’t as mistaken today as they were lacking any strategic vision when they removed the filibuster on judicial appointments nearly a decade ago in November of 2013. The nuclear option, as it was called, was led by the late Senator Harry Reid, who passed away recently. 

When I first began to dive into the actual record and discover the facts for myself, I was a bit stunned. Without Senators Carl Levin and, you guessed it, Joe Manchin, Democrats changed the rules after President Obama had already confirmed over 275 of his appointments

After the Democratic Party tossed out the filibuster on judicial appointments, with a notable exception for Supreme Court nominees, elections followed in 2014. Instead of being rewarded for removing gridlock, the Democratic Party lost control of the Senate, and, thus, the ability to stop any judicial appointments by any future Presidents of the United States.

All of this set the stage for the longest Supreme Court vacancy in American history when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on February 13th of 2016. Ultimately, Republicans denied Obama a third nomination and justice on the nation’s highest court during his last year in office. It would prove pivotal five years later as the nation braces for Roe v. Wade to fall. 

Also, Republicans, took the judicial exception and promptly threw it into the shredder upon President Trump’s inauguration, allowing the fast track of his nominees to the Supreme Court. Consequences sometimes take years and even decades to become tangible. 

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away before the 2020 election, many Democratic supporters thought the words of then Majority Leader McConnell in 2016 would again hold the vacancy open just long enough to save the seat and save their rights. They were wrong. Many of our rights may be the cost.

In one term, President Trump confirmed 245 judges. Compare this to Obama’s two terms and 334 confirmations. Trump only could have achieved such a sweeping change of our judiciary because the filibuster was no longer in place to protect it. Further, Trump’s three Supreme Court justices shifted the highest court dramatically to the right for the first time in most of our lives. The impact will likely be felt for at least the next half century.

If Democratic candidates and current legislators would take a break from attacking each other, they might realize the real threats are much larger and longterm than any disagreements they have with one another. 

Instead of arguing over failing to eliminate a rule that protects our democratic republic from the worst impulses of any political party or President, these Democratic politicians should be focused on listening to the people in all of America, not just where it’s easy and convenient. 

You can’t always have it your way. And, when you try to game the rules in order to make it easier to do so, it will always be used against the most vulnerable people in a much more painful way later. 

Many of these Republicans won’t be around to see the worst of the results of what they are doing today. They are much older, whiter, and less concerned about poverty, healthcare, fixing immigration, and protecting our clean air and water. They just want to hold onto power for a few more years. 

Democratic lawmakers need to be focused on workers, children, investments, and building a better future for everyone in every community in America.

We can do it. We should have been doing it all along.

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