Politico writes that conservative organizations, delighted with the more radical of The Big Orange Buffoon’s cabinet picks, are gearing up to target vulnerable Democrats with the goal of avoiding prolonged confirmation hearings for their favorites which, “would eat up valuable time and effort that could otherwise be spent on creating momentum during Trump’s first 100 days.” One of those vulnerable Democrats to be targeted is none other than our own Senator Claire McCaskill:
To that end, after Christmas, five red state Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 will find themselves in the cross hairs of an ad campaign pushing them to support [Scott]Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
Behind the effort is the conservative group America Rising Squared, an arm of the Republican opposition research group America Rising that is also launching a website, ConfirmPruitt.com, on Wednesday.
The Democrats — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Montana’s Jon Tester, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp — will face ads casting their votes on Pruitt’s nomination as a choice between farmers and regulators, working families and extremist environmentalists.
A similar campaign is already underway on behalf of Sessions, Trump’s nominee for attorney general. The website ConfirmSessions.com will soon be accompanied by a six-figure digital ad buy in the Washington, D.C., area. Campaigns on behalf of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Education, and Andy Puzder, who is slated to run the Labor Department, are expected to follow.
How McCaskill responds could be one of the factors that determine whether or not the GOP wrecking crew will be successful in achieving goals like repealing Obamacare, privatizing Medicare, or cutting Social Security benefits. It’s unlikely that Democrats will prevent any of these nominees from being confirmed, but slowing the confirmation down may be key to the ultimate success or failure of GOP plans for undoing progressive governance.
“They [Republicans] want to avoid this becoming a quagmire that disrupts their ability to pass a policy agenda,” said Steve Schmidt, who helped George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees through the confirmation process.
A senior Republican Senate aide said the party is well aware that Democrats could use time as a “leverage point” as they seek to stymie Trump’s momentum on big policy priorities.
So McCaskill is important. Her reelection in 2018 is very precarious. Will she capitulate to this type of rightwing pressure? Does she really think it will help her if she does – doesn’t she realize that Wagner can beat her at that game?
More importantly, can progressives organize to mount just as much pressure in a timely enough fashion – can we harness the Tea Party model to let her know how important we – her constituents and actual supporters – think unified opposition to these candidates is? How can we support her and help her remain faithful to Democratic principles?
Is McCaskill up to the challenge? Are we?