The strange stupidity of the Supreme Court nomination

I didn’t watch the Vice Presidential debate last night. My wife wasn’t interested and it certainly wouldn’t change my vote. But I saw one snippet, where V.P. Pence was trying to get Sen. Harris to admit the Democrats intended to pack the Supreme Court. I found out she never answered. I think there would have been a very simple answer:

”Not if Amy Coney Barrett isn’t confirmed. If she isn’t confirmed, you get to keep your conservative majority on the Court.”

I don’t understand the Republican calculation here. The math doesn’t work.

More of the public is against the nomination than for it. Barrett has unusually high negatives for a Court nominee.  A majority of the public believe she should agree to recuse herself if she were confirmed and the Court had to make a decision about the election, something she’s refused to do.

If the Senate doesn’t go through with confirmation, the Republicans retain a 5/4 majority on the Court and they get more public good will. If the Senate goes through with the nomination and the Republicans lose the White House and the Senate, the Republicans end up with a 6/9 minority. (We need an odd number and I don’t think they’d agree on thirteen.)

Maybe I’m missing something here, but what do the Republicans gain by doing this? Are they gambling on the election? Are they calculating that they will probably lose Trump but will keep the Senate? Because that’s the only way this makes sense. If they think they’re keeping both, there’s no point in confirming now. It’s a gamble to get a 6/3 majority.

But why gamble when you have a majority now and you stand to lose it if the gamble doesn’t pay off? Why not keep the sure thing?

Are they hoping they can get the Court to overturn the legality of gay marriage? Do they have a clue what will happen if they do that? What that would cost the Court in public legitimacy would be enormous; the Supreme Court would be viewed as an oppressive institution.

Are they hoping to overturn Roe v. Wade? The most recent poll I can find, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, says that about 70% of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.

Do Republicans think they’d be more popular by taking away valued rights from millions of Americans?

Maybe they’re after Obamacare, but Obamacare at this point is very popular. Aside from which, I will never understand the logic of Republicans opposing a program written by the Heritage Foundation for a Republican governor, a program which has worked both when tested by a State and by the country.

I feel like I must be missing something. Maybe it’s that the current lineup won’t overturn Roe v. Wade, Obamacare, or legal gay marriage, even with a conservative majority. Do they think using the Court to ram unpopular decisions down the throats of the public will strengthen Republicans at the polls?

What am I missing?

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