July 9, 2018

Trump's Supreme Court Pick and the Consequences of Elections

Supreme court east facade
Jeff Kubina.Simon Dodd [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
A few hours from now, President Trump is expected to announce his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Whoever he chooses, there will be outrage from the political left. I do not fault anyone for feeling outraged over the makeup of the court, mind you. I'm just not sure what the outraged hope to accomplish at this point. They can certainly attempt to persuade their members of Congress to vote against Trump's nominee, but it seems incredibly unlikely that he won't get his way. Most Republicans will support whoever he picks, and Democrats don't have the numbers to stop it. Even if his first choice is successfully blocked, someone on his short list is almost certainly going to end up on the Court.

This is the sort of thing people have in mind when they say, "Elections have consequences." And no, I am not thinking only about the 2016 U.S. presidential election here. The Republican Party controls not just the presidency but both the House and the Senate. How did that happen? Evidently, American voters are far more conservative than many on the left realize or would like to admit. Democrats will soon have the opportunity to take back at least one chamber of Congress, but it remains to be seen if they can muster the enthusiasm and the numbers to do so.

"Elections have consequences" is a phrase one often hears from those who just won an election as justification for implementing their agenda without much regard for their now vanquished opponents. This does not have to be the case. The same phrase could also be used to remind people who are unhappy with the way things are that they need to show up and vote. Don't like it? Complaining isn't enough; you need to vote.

If more of the political left had shown up to vote in the last several elections, we'd be in a different situation than the one we're in today. This may seem overly harsh to some, but reality does sometimes work that way. Perhaps the left can figure out how to take the outrage they are about to feel over the Supreme Court and channel it into record voter turnout for the 2018 mid-term election.