Editor’s Note: Originally posted at Brian’s website.
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” So wrote poet W.B. Yeats in the chaotic time following the First World War. In those days, Western Civilization was struggling to make sense of a conflict that killed millions of people with industrial efficiency, a global pandemic that killed millions more, new technologies such as the automobile, airplane, telephone, and radio that were changing their ways of life, and new ideologies that were destined to erase centuries of development of human liberty and freedom.
The world of 2020 is in some ways similar to that of 1920. News happens fast, and society is changing so rapidly it is nearly impossible to keep up. So far this year we have had the Democratic House of Representatives impeach President Trump over a phone call to a fellow world leader, a global pandemic that, no matter how deadly it will have been in retrospect, has been used as an excuse for all sorts of tyrannical overreach, a summer of constant riots in our major cities as the angry left seeks to tear down the structures of our society, and all this in the most contested presidential election campaign since 1860.
As if there has not been enough tinder piled on the bonfire, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last night after battling several maladies over the past few years. Rather than retiring during President Obama’s term, which would allow him to appoint a progressive replacement, Ginsburg held on, planning to step down during the administration of the first woman president. Like many on the left, Ginsburg could not conceive of a scenario where Hillary Clinton did not defeat Donald Trump, yet here we are. Once that happened, Ginsburg’s only hope was to wait out the Trump Administration, however long that would take. Alas, she could not hold out, and now the 2020 election has its flashpoint.
The Supreme Court was already going to play a part in this election. The Democratic Party has openly admitted that they will stop at nothing to steal this election. Progressive judges in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan have already ruled that mail-in ballots must be counted after Election Day. Hillary Clinton admonished Joe Biden not to concede on Election Night no matter the circumstances. Democrat and media wargamers have played out scenarios that involve blue states threatening secession if Trump is not removed from office. Just across the horizon sits the Supreme Court, waiting to be forced into the fray.
Recall that in 2000, a close vote in Florida between Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore triggered a recount. The entire presidential election hung upon the outcome of this recount, as Florida’s electoral votes would make either Bush or Gore the winner. After the first recount confirmed Bush’s narrow victory, the Gore campaign sued, demanding hand recounts in heavily Democratic districts and also demanding that certification of the vote be delayed to allow these recounts to happen. After the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Vice President, the Bush campaign appealed to the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that a hand recount in only certain districts violated the doctrine of equal protection under the law. In a further 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the vote had to be certified by the date written in Florida law. George W. Bush won Florida, and therefore the presidency.
In the succeeding twenty years since Bush v Gore, America has only become more polarized. If we face a similar situation, the Democratic Party will not accept the results the way Al Gore eventually did. Rather, they will call on their paramilitary thugs to riot in the streets, Democratic and NeverTrump Republican elected officials will call for a “bipartisan commission” to oversee the vote counting, and the left will urge military generals to arrest President Trump and force him out of office. We could already be facing a full coup this winter, and that was before Justice Ginsburg passed away. Now, a divided Supreme Court might only amplify the chaos. Judges across America will be making rulings about vote counting and the validity of mail-in ballots, and any Supreme Court decision that ends 4-4 means the lower court ruling will stand. This could create a patchwork of rulings across the country. Some states might end up with two slates of electors, one for each candidate, as is what happened in 1872. Both Trump and Biden could claim victory based on one court ruling or another, and there will be no arbitration that either side will accept.
The best way to stop this chaos before it starts is to make sure that the Supreme Court has its full slate of nine justices before Election Day. Despite what the Democrats and their media friends are saying right now, it is entirely possible and proper for President Trump to nominate a replacement justice, and for Senator McConnell to bring that nomination to a floor vote. Nobody doubts that the Democrats would do the same thing if they were in this position – they tried it in 2016 when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to succeed the late Antonin Scalia. McConnell and the Republicans held firm, refusing a vote until after the election. This gambit could have failed utterly had Hillary Clinton won, in which case she surely would have withdrawn Garland in favor of a much more radical progressive leftist.
The Republican Party has 53 senators. Only 50 are required for confirmation – Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie. That means that the GOP could lose up to three senators and still win the confirmation fight. Mitt Romney of Utah will surely try to grandstand here, just as he did when casting a vote to convict President Trump during the impeachment earlier this year. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also enjoys stabbing her own party in the back every chance she gets. Susan Collins of Maine can be unpredictable – it was her support for Brett Kavanaugh that pushed him across the line in his own contentious confirmation fight two years ago. Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and even Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are all facing tough reelection bids, and could be tempted one way or another in hopes of saving their campaigns.
It has become a cliche, but this year is truly the most important election of our lifetimes – perhaps since 1860. If the Democrats win the White House and the Senate, they will radically reshape the government to ensure their permanent power. They will likely grant statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington DC, adding four senators to the Democratic majority. They will likely also pack the Supreme Court, adding as many justices as they can to make sure it stays a bastion of progressivism for all time. The silent majority of conservatives in America are looking for hope in these dark times. President Trump has shown us a way forward, but all too often the Republican Party and even Trump’s own administration have dashed those hopes in the swamp of our federal bureaucracy. This, however, is the moment we have all been waiting for. This is the moment when they can reward our trust in them, and show that they care about saving this country from socialism, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism. Will they step up to save America, or will they back down in the face of media pressure?
President Trump, at least, seems to understand the gravity of the situation:
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020