President Donald Trump and his Republican allies believe that the coming fight over replacing the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will provide welcome reprieve from focus on the president's handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which so far has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
However, Cook Political elections expert David Wasserman thinks there's potentially a major downside for the president and his party in igniting a massive fight over the court just weeks before the 2020 presidential election.
Writing at NBC News, Wasserman explains how the court fight could "fracture" Trump's voting base and hand over several of the president's 2016 voters to Democratic rival Joe Biden.
"There's potential for Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act to drive a wedge in Trump's coalition," Wasserman writes. "In 2016, much of his support came from voters who disliked Hillary Clinton, liked Trump's rhetoric on trade and immigration, but consider themselves pro-choice -- especially non-evangelical, blue-collar women."
These voters may support Trump's right-wing populism on trade and immigration, argues Wasserman, but may also recoil at the prospect of having health care choices ripped away from people in the middle of a pandemic.
"The millions of Obama-to-Trump voters who will decide the 2020 election in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere tend to tune out attacks on Trump as a divisive or bad person," he concludes. "But they've long despised McConnell, 'establishment' Republicans and the religious right -- and a Supreme Court fight gives Democrats an opportunity to rip Trump's coalition open."