Romney’s choice comes two days after retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander introduced that he supported a vote on Trump’s eventual nominee earlier than the election, eliminating maybe the one almost definitely GOPer to hitch Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine in opposition to confirming a Supreme Court docket justice this near a presidential election. Then, on Monday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who’s an underdog for a second time period this November, stated that he too backed a vote earlier than the election. As did Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa who had, up to now, expressed vital reservations about making an attempt to substantiate a justice within the waning days of an election.
And with these crucial dominoes, any skilled vote-counter can see the writing on the wall: This nomination goes to undergo — and McConnell goes to win.
Murkowski and Collins are two. McConnell truly might have afforded to lose Romney’s vote and nonetheless get the nominee via. Now that he has Romney within the fold, McConnell has much more wiggle room — though he is not prone to want it.
Sure, it is by no means over till it is over. And sure, there’s a group of senators who have not introduced their positions on the affirmation vote — most notably retiring Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. Roberts, like Alexander, is a seen as a part of the Republican previous guard and somebody who may fear concerning the precedent being set by making an attempt to push a nominee via so near an election. And with no reelection race ever once more to fret about, Roberts can act on his conscience.
However with Romney and Alexander now backing McConnell, it is extraordinarily onerous to imagine that Roberts would come out in opposition to the vote — realizing that it would not change something. A Roberts “no” on the eventual nominee nonetheless would depart McConnell with 50 “sure” votes — and the nominee could be confirmed. Why cost at that windmill in case you are Roberts, a lifelong conservative with little curiosity in making information on the finish of his profession?
Like him or hate him, you must hand it to McConnell. He has, once more, confirmed that he instructions the just about complete loyalty of his GOP convention. As McConnell did with the contentious Supreme Court docket nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by a 50-48 vote, he has demonstrated that when the strain is on, he is ready to line up votes like only a few leaders earlier than him.
And now, with the near-certain affirmation of absolutely one third of the court docket over the past 4 years, McConnell’s legacy is full. He’ll go down as one of the vital consequential Senate leaders in fashionable historical past, overseeing an enormous ideological overhaul of the judiciary department from the underside all the way in which to the highest. And there is not a rattling factor Democrats can do about it.