Democrats began laying out an aggressive strategy Thursday to get Judge Merrick Garland considered by the Senate and seated on the Supreme Court, over what appears to be implacable Republican opposition.
The approach, which is being implemented in part by a well-organized group led by former aides to President Obama, involves targeting vulnerable GOP Senate incumbents for defeat by portraying them as unwilling to fulfill the basic duties of their office. The idea is to so threaten the Republicans’ Senate majority that party leaders will reconsider blocking hearings on Garland’s nomination.
“You’re going to be surprised at how hard we’re going to work to make sure this is on the front pages of all the papers,” Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters after meeting with Garland on Thursday.
At the White House, Obama held a conference call with thousands of supporters across the country while senior adviser Valerie Jarrett met on Capitol Hill with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters he had no details of a specific request Obama was making on the call. “But I think the president sent a pretty clear signal, though, that this a high priority of his, and he hoped that this would be a priority that people all across the country would share,” he said.
Before Garland arrived on Capitol Hill for the first time as Obama’s nominee, Senate Democrats rallied in front of the Supreme Court to denounce Republican refusal to consider the nomination. Elsewhere in Washington, advocates on both sides readied for clashes across the country, but focused on states represented by GOP senators up for reelection in November.
A couple months of ads and op-eds running that GOP senators won't do their jobs is going to start hurting. It's only March and we've got a lot of time to pile on Republicans like Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, Ron Johnson, Richard Burr, Pat Toomey and a number of open seats, including Rubio's in Florida and Vitter's seat in Louisiana (Hey, Dems can win there, ask John Bel Edwards.)
Dems going on strong offense is what I love to see, and this looks like a great chance to take back the Senate.