Wait, I Thought Democrats Loved the Popular Vote [OPINION]
I'm confused. For the last three years and 10 months, I have been reading about the Democrats wishing to do away with the electoral college and instead have the results of all elections be based on the popular vote.
So what's the problem? A popular vote in the Senate is going to decide on the next Supreme Court Justice. The Republicans hold a 53-47 majority over Democrats there. The seats filled in the senate are also due to the result of a popular vote.
It seems, at least for now, the Republicans have enough votes to bring the president's unnamed nominee to confirmation before election day on November 3. They don't even have to come to a vote if they so choose to bypass that.
Each state gets to send two senators to Washington D.C. for six-year terms to represent their constituents, but only after each senator wins a popular vote count. So the will of the people of the United States majority is actually being applied right now.
Also, this was the case in 2016 when the Republican majority controlled the Senate and they blocked President Obama's appointment Merrick Garland from even getting a vote for confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Sure, both sides of the aisle blathered about. It's what statesmen and stateswomen do when the opposition publicly shows outrage.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) tried to justify why they blocked President Obama's choice but that was all style and no substance.
It was kind of cringy for them to explain why they were making a move that, for the most part, had been an agreed-upon practice to not do to the minority party. Kind of cringy, but not if you knew what the Democrats did just three years prior to that.
Like Rambo said, "They drew first blood." Think about then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) who used the "nuclear option" in 2013 – something Reid and other Senate Democrats loudly opposed in 2005). Reid changed the long-standing Senate rule allowing for a filibuster.
Like McConnell did in 2016, Reid also concocted lame excuses and performed some theatrics to justify that radical change in the rules.
The Democrats did this in order to pack the D.C. appellate court with three liberal judicial nominees. Bad form? Mitch McConnell warned Reid that this decision would come back to bite Democrats and sooner than he thought.
Good call, Mitch. Just three years later, the Democrats were unable to stop the Republicans, because of their own doing. Instead of needing 60 votes to block Obama's appointment, the Republicans only needed 51 votes when they expanded Reid's lower court nuclear option to include the highest court. Talk about karma.
It's important to know that the 2014 mid-term elections were a clear message sent to our government by the American people: stop Obama. With 33 seats up for grabs, the Republicans gained nine seats in the Senate and 13 in the House of Representatives, giving them the greatest majority over both houses of congress since 1929, and all results were born from popular votes.
The Senate's choice to block the Supreme Court judiciary seat made vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia came with just 10 months left in President Obama's second term.
But it is true that a lot of people are made to look like hypocrites when you compare the 2016 scenario to this one here in 2020. Here's one:
The Washington Post explained why Joe Biden's words from June 25,1992 should have been ignored and not used against him when the Post protected Biden from the hypocrisy in February of 2016:
But that Joe Biden was eclipsed by the March 24, 2016 Joe Biden:
But that Joe Biden is being told he is wrong by the September 19, 2020 Joe Biden, who apparently agrees with his 1992 version once again.
While "all politics is local," all perspective seems to come from where you are positioned on the hill at the time a rotating issue returns, high ground or low. To exist on Capitol Hill as a long-time senator and not be expected to become a hypocrite is like being thrown into the sea and being told to not get wet.
In 2016, the Democrats had no legal ground to stand on to stop the Garland block by McConnell and the Republican-controlled Senate. The Constitution is quite clear.
The same is true today. The Republican-controlled Senate has the constitutional power to confirm the president's SCOTUS nominee.
Not enough time? Democrats and some more obscure turncoat Republicans like Jeff Flake of Arizona and John Kasich of Ohio are saying the appointment can and should wait as it's too close to the election and there is "not enough time."
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated by President Bill Clinton on June 2, 1993. She was voted in by the Senate on August 3, 1993, in just 42 days' time.
Her granddaughter claims that her "dying wish" was that her seat is filled by the winner of November's election. It has been a rallying cry for many Democrats – more of a cry than a rally.
Imagine the reaction of the Democrats had Justice Scalia made any such dying wish. The seat was, of course, not Scalia's, nor was it Ginsberg's, to make such a request.
I feel pretty certain that the Democrats would be running roughshod over the Republicans right now if the shoe were on the other foot, because they are on the wrong side of the math once again thanks to their own rule change.
It was the ghost of 2013's arrogance that foiled the Democrats in 2016 when the Republicans finally returned fire, blocking Garland. Obama and Reid appeared publicly amused with the Republican's indignant reaction about the Democrats killing the filibuster in the appellate courts and lower courts on November 13, 2016.
The Democrats seemed far less amused when the Republicans extended the nuclear option to the Supreme Court in 2017, but as they say, he who laughs last laughs best.
When they lose the White House in the general election, Democrats call for doing away with that process. I've heard them call the electoral college archaic or even racist (somehow) and call for changing the rule to deciding the presidency solely on the popular vote.
When they lose a popular vote in the Senate, the Democrats want to change the rules that "caused" the loss there as well.
When Republicans defeat the Democrats using the same nuclear option just used against them, the Democrats somehow call it foul play.
It's kind of like playing a game with your little brat of a brother who has tantrums until the rules are rigged to favor him winning.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.