Progressives Still Have a Trump Card to Play Against Trumpian Autocracy
Owing to the Democratic Party's all-to-clever subversion of the primaries, party leaders' insistence, rank-and-file be damned, on making Hillary Clinton their candidate for president, and the terrible campaign their terrible candidate ran, we now face the prospect of a solidly Republican Congress and the sociopathic Donald Trump as president. It's a toxic situation in which whatever laws the most whacked out Republicans want to pass, whatever programs they want to eliminate, they can push through, and President Trump will sign it into law.
It seems like a desperate situation, one that will lead to accelerating climate change, gutting of our civil liberties and important rights like abortion and equality for all, and probably to mass deportations of so-called "illegals."
But there is a way to fight back. There is, at this moment, one branch of the federal government that the Republicans and the new president don't control, and that could block many of the worst actions of the branches that they do control: the US Supreme Court.
Thanks to the gluttonous behavior of the porcine and paleo-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who overate on one of his many put-it-on-the tab junkets and died in the splendor of his free presidential bedroom, the court is currently split 4-4 between arch conservatives and liberal justices.
All that has to happen now is for the four liberal justices to stay healthy for the next four years, and for the four conservatives -- or at least one of them -- to follow in Scalia's heavy footsteps, whether by retirement or mortality, and we'd have a liberal 4-3 court.
Well, okay, I oversimplified. This ideal scenario actually requires one more thing: an uncharacteristically feisty and determined Democratic bloc in the Senate that simply refuses to approve any new picks for the Supreme Court, and that instead leaves things as they are as justices die off or retire.
The Democrats have every reason to stand firm. It has after all been the Republican strategy to leave the top court shy one justice since Scalia's demise last February 13, even refusing to consider an unquestionably qualified replacement, Merrick Garland, nominated by President Obama way back on March 16, or, in most cases, even to meet with him informally, but for all federal court appointments. But even before Scalia's death, Republicans were pulling the same stunt with lower court appointments at the district and especially the appellate level.
Democrats would need to adopt this same obstructive strategy of just refusing to even consider any Republican nominees on the Supreme Court. (They should probably follow the example of the Republicans and refuse to consider nominations for any federal court position, just to prevent those lower courts from moving rightward.)
Now you might well ask, "But what if a liberal justice dies first?"