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Why the Democrats Are Also to Blame for Brett Kavanaugh

Photo by The White House | CC BY 2.0

“I’m open to voting yes. I’m open to voting no.” – Sen. Doug Jones (Democrat, Alabama)

It’s as if a horror film is playing right before our very eyes, except this time there are no redeeming characters swooping in to save us. We face a constitutional Armageddon and the do-nothing Democrats are just as much to blame as the Republicans.

During the confirmation of Trump’s last Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, three Senate Democrats voted in favor; Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. All three of these rightwing Democrats are facing tough reelection campaigns in their respective pro-Trump states. We all know what hangs in the balance with Trump’s latest Supreme Court pick of Brett Kavanaugh, yet the Democratic leadership is going to have a tough time reining in their own.

True, it’s not as if Trump needs their votes. Even if all three Democrats oppose Kavanaugh for the bench, he’d likely still slide right through the nomination process. What’s the Democrat’s grand strategy to stop him? To court Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom are in favor of protecting women’s reproductive health. Or so they say. For Kavanaugh’s nomination to fail, all Democrats would have to oppose him and one Republican would have to defect as well. It’s a strategy that is bound to fail.

If the Democrats cannot cobble together a solidified opposition to Trump’s most egregious policies, why would the Kavanaugh nomination be any different? Instead of drawing up a visionary blueprint that aims to excite a true grassroots movement against the corporate establishment, they continue to shiver in the face of internal upheaval as they have with the recent victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York.

The Democrats don’t control the Senate for a reason. They have not galvanized the majority of Americans who oppose the Wall Street takeover of our government and the perpetual wars that prop it up. Why? Because the Democrats don’t actually oppose either. They aren’t inept, Democrats are simply professional defenders of the status-quo.

Sure, they will quickly blame Republicans for what’s about to unfold in the months and years ahead as the Supreme Court guts Roe v Wade, our meager environmental protections and any semblance of corporate accountability that remains. In fact, you can count on the Democrats to exploit the Kavanaugh nomination as a reason to vote for their lesser-of-two-evil candidates in future elections. No doubt, many will again fall victim to their cries for help.

Even so, we are in our current predicament, not solely because of Trump and the Republicans, but in large part, because so many continue to put their faith in the Democrats.

Remember, this is the same party that demonized Bernie Sanders’ supporters and believed the movement he sparked and the issues he raised were unworthy of recognition.

This is the same party that rubber-stamped the endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, the slaughters in Libya, Yemen, and more. This is the same party that backs Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. This is the same party that overwhelmingly backed the PATRIOT Act and the ongoing evisceration of our civil liberties. This is the same party that dismantled the welfare system while increasing corporate welfare. This is the same party that claims to believe in climate change but hasn’t done a damn thing to stop Big Oil. This is the same party that supports the death penalty, mass incarceration and a militarized Police State. This is the same party that claims to support women’s rights in the US but outright ignores the horrible working conditions and abuse their neoliberal policies inflict upon the women, many of them girls, who toil away in sweatshops around the globe in the name of profit.

They will whine that they’ve been steamrolled by Trump and the Republicans, but shed no tears for the Democrats. You can’t be steamrolled if you aren’t even standing in front of the machine that’s about to crush us.

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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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