Laying it down: Total resistance to Trump

Bumped, for glory. I endorse this approach at this time, though I hadn't previously. The outrage that is the immigration order changed my view. No on all nominees, filibuster any SCOTUS pick who isn't Merrick Garland, withhold unanimous consent. #resist - promoted by david

Trump plans to name his Supreme Court nominee Tuesday night. There is only one response that can be acceptable from any Democrat in the Senate:

No. Hell no.

Mitch McConnell broke the system last year. Any sense that Gosh well, the Senate’s just gotta keep doing its business, or appeals to “comity”, all the old-fashioned stuff that used to make the sausage … Dead, gone, buried. It’s out. It was frayed by 2016, but McConnell drove the last stake into it by refusing to act on the Senate’s constitutional duties to advise and consent on Merrick Garland.

There is no legitimacy to this stolen Supreme Court seat. None.

Democrats should filibuster anyone who’s not named Merrick Garland. And we should primary any Dem who’s willing to lie down for Trump.

Throughout the Obama years, at the insistence of the right-wing media hysteria machine, McConnell threw out Congressional function and compromise, in favor of a game of sheer power. The Democrats did not wish this, but they can play at this too. The filibuster still exists; if the Republicans kill it, there’s no difference for the immediate matter of who has the Supreme Court for a generation.

Based on the sheer nuttiness and wild dangerousness of this administration, neither should the Dems should vote for any of Trump’s nominees. One could make a case that Mattis and John Kelly were necessary confirms to keep sane people in the Trump inner circle. Pruitt, Puzder, DeVos, (edit: how could I forget Jim Crow ghoul and vote-suppressing Grand Inquisitor) and Sessions are clearly malevolent choices, people opposed to the very mission of the agencies. Carson is simply a random, unqualified choice for HUD. Mnuchin is a crook. And so on. No, no, no, and no.

Harry Reid’s former chief of staff Adam Jentleson has laid out the ways that Senate Democrats can throw sand in the gears of the Trump/GOP machine. For America’s sake and for their own, I hope they follow his advice.


65 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Thank you Charley

    Glad at least one of the editors realizes why the Carson vote was a bad omen, and why massive resistance is the only way forward. Very strong prescriptions here, and let’s call every one of our Senators to make sure they hold the line.


    call Senator Ed Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren @ 202-224-3121.

    I think DRUMBPF will nominate bigot Session right-wing extremist protégé Pryor.

    I just called my Senators and respectfully demanded a ‘NO’ vote on ANY nominee that wasn’t named Merrick Garland !

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

  3. Unless...

    Unless he nominates Merrick Garland, HELL NO.

  4. I don't know

    Threaten to do this, sure. Maybe have it as the opening position.

    But if we get, say, John Roberts II as opposed to Scalia III,we might want to take him and run.

    I don’t think we’ll be rewarded by the electorate for obstruction.

    Unless the argument is “This is a fight we must pick.”

    • I know some of us hate to hear it, but ...

      Some portion of the electorate is actively or passively bigoted. I know folks here get unhappy when people like me write that. It remains true — whether or not saying so is good politics.

      If the nominees are in line with what Mr. Trump has been promising for a year, then we can expect that nominee to join Mr. Scalia and Mr. Thomas in seeking any and every opportunity to reverse fifty years of progress in human rights and civil liberties — especially for women.

      My argument is that there is a threshold that each nominee must pass in order to warrant a seat on the Supreme Court. None of the names on Mr. Trump’s list meet that threshold.

      Each one should be fought as hard and as long as possible — whether or not such a fight is “rewarded by the electorate”. This is called “courage”. There has been absolutely NONE of it on the GOP side of the aisle for at least a decade, and there is not enough of it on the Democratic side of the aisle.

      Each and every nominee to the Supreme Court absolutely IS a “fight we must pick” — especially while the current administration is giving the finger to the judiciary (referring to customs police at Dulles airport who ignored an order from a federal court).

      • I'll clarify two things with you Tom

        Some portion of the electorate is actively or passively bigoted. I know folks here get unhappy when people like me write that. It remains true — whether or not saying so is good politics.

        I’ve never argued against this line of reasoning, or even that it is bad politics. It’s definitely bad politics to ignore this now that Trump is office. Polling already indicates at least 10% of the electorate is reconsidering it’s support for Trump, already at this early stage of the presidency. He never had a popular mandate. And he is far more extremist in his agenda, his nominations, and his supporters than George W. Bush was.

        I think the GOP from 2008-2010 is a great model to follow. I want this President to fail since his agenda is anti-American. Moreover, we are actually taking to the streets with real protests unlike the astroturfed Tea Party.

        The President of the ACLU put it best.

        “The Republicans are in bed with the administration and the Democrats are still leaderless and lacking a spine-it is going to be up to litigation and citizen action to stop this agenda”.

        I have never felt more empowered as a citizen. I have never felt the Democratic Party having more relevance to the lives of ordinary Americans as it does today. So I am your brother and we march on the same side. 2016 is history, let’s make sure 2017 is the year we start to take our country back.

      • This leaves room though

        So if Trump does appoint an acceptable nominee, you would support supporting the nominee?

        As I’ve observed before, we are held to higher standards. The GOP may not be punished for obstruction, and we may not either, but we also are expected to counter their obstruction constructively, because we care about government more.

        • Yes

          If Donald Trump does put forward an acceptable nomination, I support voting to approve the nomination. I think the likelihood of that is vanishingly small.

          • Like small how?

            Like 140 characters is a small novel small or like those are really small presidential man hands small?

          • I uprated but disagree

            if Trump does appoint an acceptable nominee, you would support supporting the nominee?

            I wouldn’t simply because President Obama put forward an acceptable nominee and they wouldn’t even hold hearings. I am not proposing we don’t hold hearings, absolutely and filibuster the shit out of these nominees.

            Many conservatives planned to do this had Hillary won. I think this is an area where we ultimately win the battle and lose the war by ‘aiming high’. After all, these are lifetime appointments.

            But to Tom’s point, no one on the shortlist is pledged to uphold marriage equality, a women’s right to choose, gun control, campaign finance limits or limits on executive power.

            • What is "acceptable"?

              Acceptable would be Merrick Garland or a liberal jurist. Any conservative isn’t “acceptable” in the context of this President and what the Senate did to Garland.

              Trying to do the calculus of whether a judge might be more like a second Roberts (and therefore somehow ok) and not a second Scalia (and not ok) isn’t something in which the Democrats should engage.

              Trump is going to nominate a conservative and no Dem should allow a vote on the nominee. It’s simple.

              • Why, though?

                Suppose we block the appointment, and the Supreme Court goes down to seven.

                And then at the next opening, it’s six.

                What’s the end game? What’s our goal?

                • It stays at 8

                  Nothing changes if we block the appointment, and it goes down to seven if Ginsberg dies, which may give them an incentive to cut a deal. Since it’s 4-3 with Kennedy voting with us on social issues and with them on guns, campaign finance and economics. First one to blink loses the game of brickmanship, and I have no reason to blink for this President.

                  3 million more people wanted a liberal on the court. McConnell has no argument worth standing on about democratic legitimacy for this pick.

                  • Absolutely unprecedented and sad

                    And utterly avoidable if they had put the interests of the country ahead of their party. In our current case, those interests are aligned like never before.

                  • Which is exactly what the Republicans would've done

                    Let us not forget so quickly this was their plan if Hillary had won the electoral vote as they expected. It’s because they never sell their base down the river, and they are willing to lose some battles in the court of public opinion if it means winning the war over the court itself.

                  • Oh right

                    I still think we sh0ould defer to normal procedure, not McConnell’s shocking block. But if the nominee is completely unacceptable, then we should fight.

                    • Our procedural disagreement here is moot

                      Since it is highly likely he puts a right wing conservative on the court. That was, after all, why they gambled on delaying the hearing in the first place and why the religious right stayed as a block with the philandering groper from sinful Manhattan. They play the long game better than we do-and it’s a lesson we would do well to remember.

                    • No they don't

                      They don’t play the long game well at all. Don’t believe me — ask their enraged base, which blew past a really deep field of their leaders to nominate TRUMP.

                      Or ask Paul Ryan, who is holding his caucus together with duct tape.

                    • Really?

                      How many houses of Congress do they control? How many branches of federal government? How many state houses? How many governors? And who’s best positioned now to maintain such an edge going into the next census?

                    • They are

                      But that wasn’t the question. Would you really describe their strategy as “a long game?” Running Alan Keyes for the Senate in Illinois? Jeff Perry to take a winnable seat in Masschusetts? Joe Whatshisname in Alaska? This is a long game?

                      Our long game certainly needs work, but let’s not pretend they really have one.

                    • Also

                      In addition to their widespread electoral margin, they are also consistently passing laws (often ALEC-spawned) across the country that roll back labor rights, business regulations, and voting protections. On the other side, most of the progress in bluer states have been on social issues or because activist movements have dragged legislators on things like minimum wage.

                      In terms of winning elections and retaining seats, even in the face of big demographic shifts, and enacting the policies they want, I think they are succeeding, and in a big way. The remarkable thing is that they are doing this while consistently not delivering on the things their base usually claims they want (at least in some polling). They are doing the bidding of their funders.

                      I’ll agree with you that they may not have much of an overarching theory of governance because they really don’t. I think their long game is winning and impeding progress, and at that, they’re kicking ass.

                    • What reality are you living in Jim

                      Democrats have the fewest number of elected officials since the 1930s. The GOP fully controls 26 statehouse, has 34 governorships including 9 in solidly blue states, and an ironclad lock on the House. We are looking at possibly losing possibly another 8-9 seats next cycle in the Senate which would give them a filibuster proof majority. They could enjoy a 2-3 seat court majority.

                    • And you're being awfully pessimistic again!

                      After what we’ve seen in the past ten days you really think WE are the ones in danger of losing 8-9 seats? And don’t give me the Dems representing states Trump won nonsense. NOBODY (almost) actually voted for this.

                    • Exactly but accommodation doesn't bring us back to majority

                      We have to be on the other side of every issue from this clown and vote down all of his appointments. Bipartisanship is dealing with the devil at this point. Our base is fired up and ready to vote in the midterms and you sap that fire the moment you concede an inch. This is bigger than the future of the party-the country is on the line. The big gains you and Jim expect will only come if we FIGHT

                    • I might add my pessimism was too optimistic the last time

                      False optimism that we can be civil and moderate and win back government gets us nowhere. Recognizing the majority of Americans are spoiling for a fight and giving it to them is the way to win.

                    • I wasn't objecting to your wanting to fight.

                      I was referring to your fear that we lose 8-9 Senate seats, with history favoring the out party for midterms and Trump giving people more reasons by the day, which is no longer the mere speculation he might follow through on campaign rhetoric, to vote against him and any fellow travelers.

                    • Well, yes. You are in danger.

                      Because the rest of the nation isn’t as progressive as Massachusetts. In fact, no place is.

                    • Who's they?

                      I don’t think he meant Republican long game, but Trump’s long game.

                      The only reason Congressional Republicans are united with Trump is because they are unprincipled. If he stalls and flounders a bit, he is going to attack everyone, including Republicans, as he is already doing with Sens. Graham and McCain.

                      It sounds like the immigration EO was drafted with the help of Republican Congressional staffers, acting under a NDA, and without the knowledge of their respective actual bosses.

                      Don’t ever think that any Republican in Congress will do the right thing, or stand up for truth or justice, or not torturing people. But, the longer things drag out, the more they will shoot at one another as well as at Dems, and the more of that the better.

                      Stall. Stall. Stall.

                • age and time

                  When you have one branch of govt dependent on replenishment and another branch is allowed to hold up replacements on a whim it weakens the whole structure. Obama should have been allowed to nominate someone even if a justice died two weeks before he left office.
                  The court by its nature is going to be filled with people who are above average in age. Now is the time (it could have been done years ago) to establish a time limit for replacement of perhaps the most important branch of the government. One month after a justice dies there should be a warm butt in the seat?

                  • Soon after Scalia's death...

                    …I wrote a diary proposing an amendment to the Constitution which would automatically seat executive and judicial nominees after a certain period of time, unless the Senate had actually taken a floor vote to reject the nominee.

    • Tell that to Mitch McConnell Jim

      I don’t think we’ll be rewarded by the electorate for obstruction.

      He was rewarded with an expanded Senate Majority and a conservative president nominating a conservative ustice. Fortunately, we didn’t foolishly take away the filibuster for Court nominations like we did for the cabinet-so there is a lot the minority can do to stop this. And stop this it must.

      • He was not

        Didn’t we gain a seat? He kept his job, but he was not rewarded.

        • Gained two

          Both senators (Ayotte, Kirk) that actually were open to holding hearings on Garland, one (Kirk) said he was open to voting for him.

          • That's how it went the other way, as well

            The most vulnerable Democrats were on the right. Net result is ever-increasing polarization. That train has enough momentum now that it isn’t stopping absent some external event altering the dynamic. I think I am on board for the Full McConnell. They have the numbers to push things through, so fine. Go down fighting and let them be the ones to abolish the filibuster.

    • This is the right we must pick.

      For example, if a Roberts type candidate were appointed, he would continue to erode voting rights, and would vote to kill unions dead.

      (Scalia’s death came just in time to stop that.)

      If we’re not going to fight over this, the most important thing we could fight for, we may as well pack our bags, hand the fascists the keys and go home.

      Plus 8 years of GOP obstructionism shows its a path to victory, far from something that hurts a party. Sad, but true.


    This morning, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said he will filibuster any pick that is not Merrick Garland and that the vast majority of the Caucus will oppose the nomination. That means the Trump nominee will need 60 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.
    ” This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat. We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”

    That, my friends, is what courageous leadership sounds like.

    RESIST !

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

  6. It is sad that we are at this point

    but we are indeed here.

    I’m typically in the camp of “it’s important to pick your fights,” since (among other things) it is a signal about priorities and importance. Focusing the fight against W. Bush’s Social Security privatization attempts back in ’05, for example, signaled that we’re willing to work with the administration on some things but not that.

    However, things have changed. Someone occupies the White House who is intent on destroying what remains of political norms and American political culture and ideals, and who elevates himself above the public welfare. The fight to pick is against what Trump and his inner circle are doing to the country. That means not picking and choosing battles, because Trump himself is the battle. That means not going along with anything this administration tries to push.

    Total resistance, at all times, from all different avenues. It’s the only way to signal that not just the policies coming from the presidency, but the occupant of the office itself, is illegitimate.

  7. Another EO

    Josh Rogin at WaPo is reporting that there is a draft Executive Order aimed at the LGBTQ that also relates to adoption rights.

    Follow up: Admin source says LGBT EO could affect federal employee benefits & protections & adoption agencies that receive federal funding

    Total resistance is a must.

    Also, looks like we’ll probably be in the streets again shortly.

  8. For the most part, I think we keep doing

    what we (anti-Trump, Democrats, etc.) are doing. Chuck Schumer just called Trump’s order “evil.” Incidentally, the media keeps saying that Trump is doing what Presidents do early on: issue executive orders. Given his autocratic direction, executive orders are going to become a regular tool for him.

    Protests are not always useful. For example, when they are ignored. They are, however, valuable when they give people energy and community and/or when the media pays attention to them. They are generally useful now. The media is covering them out of desperation. My younger cousin took a bus with other like-minded souls to the Women’s March. She came back energized. A guy I teach with seeks me out because he knows I’m into politics. He describes himself as a capitalist. Loved Reagan. He just joined the ACLU and sent them $100. He joined, he said, because he wanted to know when and where people were protesting.

    I still think Warren’s vote on Ben Carson was no big deal, but we are looking at Dems doing what they can to oppose things in Congress. That’s not enough, but that’s what we have to do.

    Rhetorically, we have to blame the Republicans. Call them what they are: unAmerican. Hopefully our Democratic leaders are working with the–I can’t believe I’m saying this–saner Republicans like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, pressuring them to do the right things.

    It may sound ridiculous to say so, but there’s a strong possibility that Trump doesn’t make it through office. We need to play for time.

    We also need a DNC chair.

    • Protests are only useful when they disrupt things

      and force the other side to the bargaining table.

      “energy” isn’t what we need right now. We have plenty of that. We need to grind this government to a halt, and *force* electeds in DC to do things they don’t want to do.

      This, BTW, was why the airport protests were so effective, and scared the hell out of the administration (to the point where they not only made some moves in retreat, but actually moved up their SCOTUS announcement to shift the news cycle forward).

      • I bow to your experience, but

        not about the energy. A lot of people have been activated, which is perhaps a better word than energy.

        • Meh

          I am deeply skeptical of the effectiveness, long-term, though ryepower is right about the specifics of the airport protests.

          But it has been less than two weeks,and that sort of thing isn’t sustainable, and will eventually dwindle into “Occupy”-style drum circles with no particular agenda.

          It was the same problem in the campaign: there are so many truly appalling things that you can’t react to them all. David Ortiz can mash a fastball, but if the pitcher throws three fastballs per second, he will miss more than he hits.

          • Part of the meh, I think, is

            the fact that you and I are not protest types.

            At the very least, the media needs something to take pictures of. If all they had were some quotes by talking heads and elected officials, the tension and opprobrium would be less palpable.

      • There's a reason they are called 'demonstrations.'

        Protests are only useful when they disrupt things(3+ / 0-) View voters

        and force the other side to the bargaining table.

        … in that they demonstrate several things that are of vital importance. first, the deliberate refusal on the part of the people; a clear unwillingness to acquiesce. Secondly, the lengths to which the power will go to quiet the people.

        Martin Luther King Jr. deliberately led people in marches knowing that dogs and firehoses and beatings were before them. They were not a surprise to him. They did not march with the objective of ‘forcing the other side to the bargaining table’ They marched deliberately to demonstrate to the entire world the depravity in the South, to demonstrate how far the powers in the South would go to keep African Americans in line.

        This was important in turning otherwise moderate people, people who prized ‘law and order’ above Jim Crow, but who had to re-evaluate their own moderation once they saw the price of their ‘law and order’. Demonstration.

        “energy” isn’t what we need right now. We have plenty of that. We need to grind this government to a halt, and *force* electeds in DC to do things they don’t want to do.

        Energy is what is needed. Because a lot of things are unknown. How far will Trump and Bannon go to avoid doing what they don’t want to do? Will they beat and arrest protesters? Will they kill?

        We must test the boundaries of what they are willing to do… to demonstrate that to the world what they are willing to do.

        They are called ‘demonstrations’ because they demonstrate what is. They require energy.

        • Good cop/bad cop

          Demonstrations and energy are effective only if they are accompanied by a credible threat (emanating from different sources) of actual disruption.

          MLK needed Malcolm X. New mobe needed the SDS and the Weathermen.

          The “bad cop” is needed to overcome the lethargy that resists embracing the changes advocated by the “good cop”.

    • I wish the proestors

      would put half as much energy into spending 20 minutes voting as they do marching and chanting.

      • We don't really know...

        There are three kinds of protesters:

        1. Those who are ineligible to vote (age or citizenship status or felony status or whatever)

        2. Those who are eligible to vote and do (Nov 2016, and perhaps others)

        3. Those who are eligible to vote and don’t (Nov 2016, and perhaps others)

        Honest question: for both (a) the women’s march and (b) the immigrant’s protests, what percentage make up each group? My bet is that the percent of (3) is well less than 10 percent. I’d bet less than 3 percent.

        Lots of people couldn’t be arsed to vote in November, 2016. I don’t think those people are the ones showing up at marches.

  9. attention frog: the water is getting hot

    And once it starts boiling, it’s too late.

    Read this.

    Trial balloon for a coup?

  10. This is essential reading

    And awfully prescient in combination with Matthew Yglesias‘ analysis of how gridlock enables the breakdown of democracy and opens the door to a strong man.

    I see no reason not to vote no on every nominee for every position from here on out. Vote no on every major piece of legislation. There is no reason to help him!

  11. so how does it play out?

    Let’s assume filibuster.

    What happens?

    “Nuclear option”? And if that happens on an SC nominee, would one expect to see filibuster disappear for good?

    I kinda liked the filibuster.

    • The "nuclear option"

      if they were going to pull that off, the time to have done it would have been when they were making the new rules.

      They chose not to.

      I don’t think they could pull it off without a filibuster-proof vote, *or* until after the midterms.

      That’s my understanding.

      And, in any event, if we’re not going to say no indefinitely over a SCOTUS pick, after the GOP *just* did it to us, then when the hell are we ever going to do that?

      If we can’t stand up now, we may just as well roll over on everything from here on out, and rename the Democratic Party into the Chamberlain Party.

      • it's a Senate rule

        They can change their own rules anytime they like. I agree on the pick thought, the republicans basically stole a supreme court seat with their unprecedented stalling. It would be pathetic and ridiculous if the dems don’t fight whatever comes (with the exception of Merrick Garland) tooth and nail.

        • I think Rye's point

          is for the Senate to change their rules, they have to vote to do so.

          And the vote is subject to filibuster.

          That said, I can think of how McConnell could get around that.

          • Politifact seems to suggest fairly easy to go nuclear


            I noticed this just got published.

            Link here.

            Essentially says: details of the maneuver are arcane and complex, but implies nobody seems to dispute that it can be executed. No mention of need to wait to midterms.

            So if that’s true, is this the most likely scenario?

            1. Dems filibuster

            2. Nuclear option. So confirmation vote happens ~ 3 months from now.

            3. With the 60-vote rule then weakened (first Reid on appeals court judges, then McConnell on SC), would erosion next hit rules for even ordinary legislation, like tax cuts? Essentially ending filibuster as far as the eye can see?

            • P.S. Do SCOTUS justices vote if didn't hear oral argument?

              I.e., let’s say new justice is confirmed May 1.

              And the SC heard a case April 1. So let’s say opinion still a ways off from being written.

              Would/could new justice vote?

        • What trickle said.

          To change the rule now would require a filibuster-proof majority or waiting until the next session.

          That means there’s zero reason not to go to town. Filibuster everything. But *especially* the Supreme Court pick.

          And if we muck things up enough, as we’ve seen with the GOP, we may just be rewarded with the Senate come election time for it.

          Plus it’s the right thing to do…

          • I agree

            it’s the right thing to do politically and morally.

            I’m just saying the Senate rules can be changed at any time by the Senate, no supermajority required. A legislature can basically do whatever it wants internally. The dems changed the filibuster rules for the lower courts in November with just a majority. Why do you think there is only a certain time it can be done?

            Our political norms are crumbling. There’s very little chance of the filibuster making it though the next four years anyway. Even before Trump, it was on its last legs. We should fight the nominee regardless. We should not assume that an antiquated tradition internal rule of the Senate is going to help us when the repubs have control of that body.

  12. No. On. Everything.

    It can’t hurt us, and history will remember who cooperated with these fascist megalomaniacs.

  13. Simple question to ask Supreme Court Nominee

    “Is your name Merrick Garland”? No further questions.

  14. As with David,

    the immigration order has put me over the edge.

    We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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