The recent comment by Senator John McCain that no nominee of a President Clinton will ever be approved by a Republican Senate is the most alarming comment of an already alarming political situation. It’s bad enough to have to deal with the fear of political violence after the election from AK-wielding Trump supporters convinced that the election was stolen.
Now we have to face a real Constitutional crisis in the form of a publicly-stated attempt to allow the U.S. Supreme Court become extinct or at least non-functioning for possibly the next eight years. It is as profoundly an unpatriotic act as any we have seen in our lifetime – deliberately disabling an entire branch of government for partisan political purposes.
McCain later walked back his comments, which may be nothing more than an idle threat to get votes in a tightening election for him. On the other hand, Mitch McConnell stated early on the Republican goal of making the Obama Presidency fail. That, in and of itself, was a radical departure from historic precedent. In the past, presidential campaigns were bitterly fought but in the end the “loyal opposition” would work to get problems solved with the new President.
Even in the most bitterest of past campaigns – the elections of Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan for example – Congress compromised and continued to try to make the Country better. The GOP reaction to the first black president changed that norm. The result has been a crippling 8 years of inaction apart from Presidential orders.
It’s difficult to see a way out of this mess, short of the election of a Democratic majority in the Senate and in the House. Already, House Republicans are announcing their intention to cripple a Clinton Administration with endless “investigations”. It is certainly true that without a Democratic Senate there will be a rapid decline of the ability of the U.S. Supreme Court to get vital work done.