Democrats Need to Feel the Pressure on the Supreme Court, too
The fight expands on our own turf
|Jordan Zakarin||Sep 21|| 3|
Welcome to a solemn but focused Sunday edition of Progressives Everywhere.
First, thank you for stepping up — this community has raised well over $600,000 for Democratic candidates and progressive GOTV groups in the past 48 hours. Your donations are part of an unprecedented weekend avalanche of money sent to left-leaning organizations. You are stepping up to the moment, trying to stop Trump and Mitch McConnell from stealing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat.
Unfortunately, much of Democratic Congressional leadership isn’t returning the favor.
Oh, they’re tweeting and issuing press releases and going on Sunday talk shows to talk about Merrick Garland and Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy. But as is becoming clear, they are already surrendering their most potent weapons against McConnell and Trump’s assault on democracy.
In this issue of Progressives Everywhere, we’ve got the latest on the Supreme Court battle, Trump’s potential picks, new ways we can make a big difference, and important news that’s been overlooked this weekend.
Real quick: Thank you to GoFundMe donors Malaika, Dianne, and Barbara!
Make Democrats Earn Those Donations, Stop Trump and McConnell
Yesterday, I sent out a guide to putting maximum pressure on Republicans in the Senate. That guide is at the bottom of this email, but first, we need to look at our side of the aisle.
So here’s the deal: Despite all their big proclamations, Democratic leaders in Washington seem unwilling to leave blood and teeth on the floor to stop this SCOTUS pick. Consider this story about Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s plans, published last night at Roll Call:
Conservatives are arguing that there is no reason why Trump and McConnell should not move forward immediately, and across the aisle, there appeared to be no immediate appetite from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer or members of the Democratic Conference to try to grind the chamber’s limited agenda to a halt, although they have tools at their disposal.
Since the chamber largely runs on unanimous consent, any Democratic senator could, for instance, gum up the works of the Senate by objecting to everything else McConnell wants to do, forcing Republicans who are up for reelection to spend additional time casting procedural votes.
Despite grumbling from McConnell and other Republicans who claim the Democrats have mounted too many obstructions to Senate business, the Democratic minority has generally gone along with unanimous consent agreements, setting up predictable schedules of votes (especially on Trump’s many judicial nominations) and other motions such as adoption of the journal of proceedings and avoiding the morning hour of debate.
While the filibuster for judicial appointments is gone, Schumer could finally get the guts to throw a wrench into unanimous consent. He could introduce amendments to bills that would protect pre-existing conditions and make legislative fixes to Obamacare. He could lead a human chain blocking the entrance to the Senate. But he’s not doing any of it.
And over on the House side, Speaker Pelosi made some vague threats about “arrows in the quiver” but decided to just throw away the one that would make the biggest difference. This from a Politico story published this evening:
Pelosi shut down the possibility of Democrats leveraging government funding to slow down the Senate’s confirmation process but did maintain that Democrats have “arrows in our quiver” to stop the Senate from advancing a nominee. She declined, however, to discuss their options.
I’m not going to guess what their motivations are for not wanting to go all-out to stop this nomination, but I know that we’re all pretty desperate to stop the GOP in its tracks. So what do we do? Well, we do exactly what Schumer suggests here:
At the bottom of this email, I’ve listed the phone numbers for the most vulnerable GOP senators (and Mitt Romney). But we’ve also got to call Schumer, Pelosi, and their crew to let them know that not using every tool they have in this fight is unacceptable. Their DC office info and websites are below — the phone lines open at 9 AM on Monday:
Chuck Schumer: (202) 224-6542
Nancy Pelosi: (202) 225-4965
Dick Durbin: (202) 224-2152
Steny Hoyer: (202) 225-4131
As for Republicans…
Let’s be clear: The GOP is the real enemy here. These last few days, we’ve seen a number of Republicans announce that they’re going to go back on their flimsy, single-use “principles” and will vote to confirm whichever radioactive tarantula Trump puts on the court to suck the remaining life out of the United States.
Here are the ghouls who people thought might step up for democracy but instead gave the thumbs up to hearing the nominee already this weekend:
Thom Tillis (who is up for re-election and must lose his job over this)
Joni Ernst (same as Tillis)
The numbers are narrowing, but we’ve still got a shot. Here are the numbers to call on the GOP side:
Cory Gardner: (202) 224-5941
Steve Daines: (202) 224-2651
Chuck Grassley: (202) 224-3744
Mitt Romney: (202) 224-5251
Quick Break to Keep You Motivated:
This recent New York Magazine cover is basically porn at this point, but let’s use it to fuel our fight!
OK, now back to it…
Elections and Voting Rights
I was all set to send out news alerts on Friday night, but Justice Ginsburg’s passing put them on the backburner. There have been some big updates to stories we’ve been following, so let’s dive into them now:
Michigan: Another nice win for voting rights advocates in Michigan, where the operational deadline for getting absentee ballots counted was extended by the courts.
A Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled that the state must accept ballots for up to two weeks after election day, so long as they were postmarked by Election Day (i.e. November 3rd).
That’s a massive expansion — up until Friday, ballots had to be received by November 3rd. We’ve updated the dates over at AbsenteeBallots.info accordingly.
Every voter in Michigan is going to get an absentee ballot application in the mail, so the sheer number of voters this could help is gigantic.
Texas: Some good news in the long, stupid slog case over whether Harris County (home to Houston) can send absentee ballot requests to all registered voters.
The state’s 14th Court of Appeals ruled that yes, it’s OK for Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins can send those applications to everyone, even if only seniors and people who are definitely unable to vote on November 3rd (due to illness, being away, etc) can actually request the form.
The case is going to the Texas Supreme Court next. That court ordered Hollins to not send any applications a few weeks back until the case was decided. Now, the all-Republican court will make the decision.
The court has been quite hostile to voting rights this year; a few months ago, it ruled that the Secretary of State was not required to expand absentee voting to all registered voters this year.
Georgia: The special election in Arizona is getting much of the attention, but there’s also a special Senate election happening in Georgia. These races have taken on even more significance, as the winner can be seated in November and vote on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee.
Democrats have been struggling in this race because they have a bunch of candidates vying for a spot in what would be a top-two election in January if there’s no majority winner.
Now, however, with SCOTUS on the line, experts suggest that Democrats could line up behind one candidate and go all-in to try and win a majority of votes on Election Day.
It’s a long-shot, but having multiple candidates in a race that could allow friggin’ Kelly Loeffler to return to the Senate is stupid, anyway.
Help Out Progressives GOTV Groups
It’s important to give to campaigns and arm them with cash, but I’ll be honest — candidates’ campaigns, especially the top-level ones with tens of millions of dollars, don’t always spend their money in the most effective ways. A fair amount of it goes to consultants, big TV ad buys that net even more money for consultants, and salaries. That’s just the way this works right now.
That’s why I think it’s just as important to donate to grassroots get out the vote groups. These are the organizations that get people out on the streets, in the community, making phone calls, and texting voters. Crucially, they’re often also the people best equipped to connect with, motivate, and advocate for minority communities, young people, and low-frequency voters. It’s never been more important to activate all corners fo the progressive coalition (and push for policies that reflect our values).
They also help fight voter suppression, which is one of the biggest dangers we face this year.
Below, you can donate to some great GOTV and progressive mobilization organizations, all in one click:
Help Down-Ballot Candidates
One of the main focuses this year (and every year) at Progressives Everywhere is spotlighting and fundraising for candidates running for state legislature, where most of the United States’ laws are written. This year, Democrats have a chance to flip legislatures in a number of swing states, and by helping their campaigns, we also get to help get out the vote for Joe Biden in must-win states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida.
I’ve written guides to key candidates in a majority of these flippable states, which I’ve listed below.
There will be more to come. I know things seem grim, but we have a chance to beat back and defeat the demons who are trying to snuff out all hope. Give money, make calls, make sure everyone you know is registered to vote and has requested their ballot (use AbsenteeBallots.info to make it easy!) and stay focused. We can do this.
Can You Help Us?
Together, we’ve raised nearly $2.2 million now for progressive candidates and causes, plus $1.5 million for bail funds and civil rights groups. That’s $3.7 million raised!
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