‘Nightmare’ for the GOP: The battle for Justice Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat is a huge motivator for Democrats

Monday morning, September 21 on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough — a former Republican congressman and blistering critic of President Donald Trump — argued that the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, September 18 was a “nightmare” for Republican senators seeking reelection because Democrats will be campaigning on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court and the strong possibility that a Trump nominee would vote to abolish the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. Ginsburg’s death and the battle for her seat, as Scarborough sees it, is a huge motivator for Democrats and will only make things worse for struggling incumbent senators like Maine’s Susan Collins, Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Arizona’s Martha McSally. To be sure, Democratic fundraising enjoyed a major surge following RBG’s death, and journalist Lissandra Villa discusses the passion that the Supreme Court battle is bringing out in Democrats in an article published by Time on September 20.


“Democrats across the country collectively panicked on Friday night when the news broke that Ginsburg, a beloved feminist and liberal icon, had died from complications related to metastatic pancreatic cancer,” Villa explains. “Their grief was intertwined with a harsh political reality: for Democrats, Ginsburg’s place on the Court was part of an institutional safety net, and it is now tethered to a high-stakes election for which voting is already underway. Her death could tip the balance of the Court further toward conservatives — an opportunity for the right that would have long-term ramifications.”

After Ginsburg’s death, it didn’t take Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell long to stress that her seat must be filled as soon as possible. Republicans, Villa notes, see this as a “potential way to fire up their base,” but she stresses that Democrats are already fired up.

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told Time, “Our game plan remains the same. And our game plan is: we take nothing for granted. This is yet another reminder to our already motivated voters that the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Villa, in her article, makes one of the points that Scarborough made on “Morning Joe”: the battle for the Supreme Court could have a major impact on U.S. Senate races.

“Senate races grew more competitive overnight as it became clear that for the third time in just a handful of years, there will be a confirmation battle on Capitol Hill,” Villa observes. “Prior to Ginsburg’s death, the forecast of who would have control of the Senate was looking promising for Democrats. About a dozen Senate races were expected to be competitive, and now, Democrats’ sense of urgency about them has grown as they recognize that in order to have leverage, they have to make gains in the November election.”

To illustrate her point, Villa notes that the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue has “announced that between 8 p.m. EST on Friday and the end of Saturday, it received 1.5 million contributions that amounted to $91.4 million for Democratic candidates and initiatives.” And Villa adds that Vote Save America’s Get Mitch or Die Trying page “had raised more than $19 million as of Sunday.” Vote Save America is a Democratic get-out-the-vote effort, and it is helping Democratic candidates in 13 U.S. Senate races.

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Christopher Kang, co-founder and chief counsel to the liberal/progressive group Demand Justice, told Time that following Ginsburg’s death, “There already is…. just this outpouring of emotion and activism. I think you’re going to see that this is going to be a huge political liability for Republicans.”