Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) just made a decision that will likely hurt the Democrats’ odds in November, all while pushing through more of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. From effectively stealing Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat and giving it to Neil Gorsuch to flipping two circuit courts from liberal to conservative, the majority leader doesn’t waste a moment when it comes to pushing through his judicial strategy. In fact, while many Democrats were preparing their protests and disruptions for Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, McConnell struck a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to fast-track 15 judges. But McConnell isn’t done yet. Giphy In his latest savage move, according to Politico, the senator plans to keep the Senate in session through October to allow for approval to fill more judicial vacancies, greatly reducing the campaign time available for senators running for re-election. Many of those senators are Democrats. McConnell told NBC that many of the Senate races in 2018 are like “a knife fight in an alley.” Currently, there are nine Senate seats in which the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate are in a dead heat, according to Real Clear Politics. Right now, the polls have the following breakdown:
- Republicans have 46 seats that are listed as safe or not up for re-election.
- Democrats have 37 seats that are listed as safe or not up for re-election.
- Democrats have 3 seats that will “likely” remain Democrat.
- Republicans have 1 seat that will “likely” remain Republican.
- Democrats have only a slight lead in four states.
- Nine seats are complete toss-ups.
It is not outside the realm of possibility that Republicans could win the 60 seats needed to have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Of the 13 seats that lean Democrat or were labeled “toss-ups,” nine of the seats have Democratic incumbents. Because of McConnell’s decision to remain in session throughout October, those Democrats will have to choose between campaigning in their highly competitive races or skipping votes that allow Trump’s judicial nominees to skate through the approval process. Either way, it is not a good look for Democrats trying to win votes. Republican incumbents, on the other hand, can afford to miss a vote here or there while campaigning. This is clearly the “knife” in McConnell’s “alley” fight. While it isn’t clear who will come out of the midterm elections victorious, it is clear that McConnell will crank out more judges appointed by Trump in the meantime.