With 42 days to Election Day 2020, here’s the news that you’ll want to know:
What’s happening with the SCOTUS nomination — and increasingly likely confirmation.
“The GOP-controlled Senate has enough votes to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination. While two Republicans, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said they did not support a vote on a SCOTUS nominee, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced Tuesday he would join the Republican ranks likely giving the GOP the votes they need.” (The Federalist)
- What’s happening: Get ready for a Supreme Court nomination — and very likely a confirmation of a new Justice ahead of Election Day. Here are the latest developments:
— Sen. Mitt Romney announced he’d support the confirmation process. (Read his statement on Twitter here.) That means Senate Republicans should have enough votes to confirm a new Justice.
— President Trump met with Barrett at the White House last night. Publicly, President Trump has only confirmed he’s down to a final list of five potential nominees, and he anticipates nominating a woman.
— President Trump announced on Twitter that he’d share his nomination on Saturday. He previously explained he wanted to wait until after Justice Ginsburg’s memorial service, out of respect for the Justice.
- What’s at stake: This issue is now the center of the 2020 presidential election, and it’s sure to come up in the first presidential debate one week from tonight.
(1) Democrats and Republicans are fired up about a Supreme Court nominee.
In August, more Democrats than Republicans were concerned about the future of the Supreme Court when deciding who to vote for in November.
But as President Trump will nominate a third Supreme Court Justice — and potentially re-shape the Court for a generation or more — Republicans and allied outside groups are ready to mobilize for a rapid confirmation process.
With the 2020 presidential election as the backdrop, it will be an exciting 42 days to November 3.
(2) Get ready for an ugly meltdown from the left that may ensnare Joe Biden.
(The two front-runners for the nomination — Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Barbara Lagoa — are both Catholic.)
As The Federalist explains in this piece, Kamala Harris previously questioned the nomination of a federal judge based on his membership in a Catholic organization, and Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein have asked odd questions of Catholic nominees in confirmation hearings.
In addition to being just plain wrong, similar outbursts for a Catholic SCOTUS nominee may damage Biden’s support among Catholics and all Americans of faith ahead of the election.
— Biden has tried to campaign as a moderate (even though he won’t explain who he’d nominate or whether he’d pack the Supreme Court), so his party’s outrageous response to the SCOTUS nomination process creates political problems for him.
And left-wing protestors are already gathering at Republican Senators’ homes. Capitol Police responded to protests at Sen. Lindsey Graham’s DC address; Sen. McConnell’s home in Kentucky was also “targeted,” according to Fox News.
We anticipate there will be more to come, especially as the nominee is announced and confirmation hearings begin on Capitol Hill.
- What else to know: Kamala Harris was one of the “ringleaders” during the confirmation hearing for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as The Federalist termed it. That may also be why the Biden campaign is keeping a relatively low profile on this issue.
At least two attendees at the ABC townhall with President Trump are strongly anti-Trump.
“While the network claimed its Tuesday town hall ‘provided uncommitted voters the opportunity to ask the president questions about issues affecting Americans,’ a Washington Free Beacon review of social media posts found that two of the questioners have long denounced Trump.” (Washington Free Beacon)
- What’s happening: President Trump and Joe Biden both attended town-hall-style events coordinated by ABC News. The events were supposed to be feature undecided voters … but the Washington Free Beacon found that at least two of the attendees “have long denounced Trump.”
— One townhall attendee, a university professor, was presented as an undecided voter by ABC but reportedly labels herself a “liberal Democrat.”
The Free Beacon reported that her past tweets include strong anti-Trump sentiments, calling the President “pathetic” and “swine,” among other terms — some of which include profanity.
— Another townhall attendee, again presented as an undecided voter by ABC, reportedly tweeted that he “never once supported trump and won’t now,” not long before the televised townhall event.
The Free Beacon reported that an “ABC spokesperson told the Free Beacon that the voters ‘all identified to [the network] as uncommitted.’ The spokesperson would not say whether the network took any time to verify those claims, nor did he answer questions about the selection process.”
- What’s at stake: We’d highlight two key points based on this story.
(1) Anti-Trump bias in the mainstream media is real.
You can find anecdotes like this and also stats: the Media Research Center NewsBusters found that media coverage in June and July was 150 times more negative toward President Trump than Joe Biden.
(2) And that’s likely why they were surprised by the 2016 election results — and may be shocked again in 2020.
Judge rules to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline, joining Pennsylvania and Michigan in extending due dates.
“A federal judge ruled Monday that absentee ballots in Wisconsin postmarked on or before Nov. 3 can be counted an additional six days after the election. The ruling was a result of a lawsuit stemming from the April presidential primary that saw poll staffing issues and thousands of mail-in ballots submitted after the election, the Associated Press reported. The previous law required that absentee ballots be cast by 8pm on election night.” (Daily Caller)
- What’s happening: Once again a judge has ruled that ballot deadlines should be extended for Election Day 2020. This time, it’s Wisconsin:
— Normally, the absentee ballot deadline is 8PM on Election Day.
— Yesterday a judge ruled that the NEW absentee ballot deadline is six days after Election Day, provided ballots are postmarked by November 3.
This matches changes in two other key 2020 states.
— Normally, the mail-in ballot deadline is 8PM on Election Day.
— On Friday, the court ruled that the NEW mail-in ballot deadline is “within two weeks” of November 3, Election Day, provided ballots are postmarked by November 2.
— Normally, the mail-in ballot deadline is 8PM on Election Day.
— Last week the court ruled that the NEW mail-in ballot deadline is 5PM on Friday, November 6. That’s three days after Election Day, November 3.
— Ballots must have a November 3 postmark OR “no proof they were sent afterward” OR have a missing or illegible postmark.
- What’s at stake: These decisions were widely seen as a victory for Democrats.
(1) This will potentially put thousands more ballots into play.
The new, court-ordered deadlines could potentially affect as many more or more votes than the margin of victory in each state in 2016.
In 2016, President Trump won Wisconsin by just under 23,000 votes.
In Michigan, President Trump won by an even smaller margin — just 0.3% points or just over 10,000 votes.
Pennsylvania is a must-win state for President Trump’s campaign in 2020. And it has a narrow margin of victory: he won by just over 44,000 votes in 2016.
(2) This will likely delay how soon we know the winner of the presidential election.
These three states had close margins of victory, and they’ll keep accepting ballots for days or weeks after Election Day. That lengthy timeline makes it highly likely it will take time before we know definitively which candidate won.
(3) Last-minute legal changes increase post-election challenges. Or, put another way: the more rules are changed now, the more likely it is we’ll see recounts or lawsuits after Election Day — especially in very tight races like are expected in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
As Sen. Toomey (R-PA) said of Pennsylvania’s decision last week: “Today’s blatantly political decision to violate the law irresponsibly heightens the risk that our state will experience a lengthy, disputed, and controversial outcome in what is expected to be an extremely close presidential race.”
The 2000 election is forever linked with the recount challenge in Florida. This year, the country faces the possibility of delayed results and legal challenges — and now Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania may have put themselves at the center of it.