Liberal groups knock Schumer’s handling of Kavanaugh nomination

Sep 5, 2018 by

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is grappling with a base that wants him to stop Brett Kavanaugh even though Republicans can confirm him without Democratic help. | Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Progressive groups have a blunt assessment of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s work to defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination: “You are failing us.”

Thirteen liberal groups have signed on to a letter, delivered Wednesday morning, that pans the minority leader’s strategy of stopping President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. They say that “the Democratic Party’s progressive base expects nothing less than all-out resistance to Trump’s dangerous agenda,” and question whether Schumer is delivering it.

But Schumer is grappling with multiple challenges: a base that wants him to stop Kavanaugh even though Republicans can confirm him without Democratic help, as well as a brutal midterm map and vulnerable incumbents who are under pressure to support Trump’s pick. Senate Democrats have largely united behind Schumer’s strategy of demanding documents and disrupting the Judiciary Committee’s hearing. But liberal groups say it’s not enough.

“Your job as Senate Democratic leader is to lead your caucus in complete opposition to Trump’s attempted Supreme Court takeover and to defend everyone threatened by a Trump Supreme Court,” the letter reads. “But unbelievably, nearly two dozen Democrats have still not come out against Kavanaugh. … That is not the leadership we need.”

Among the signees are CREDO Mobile, Indivisible, Democracy for America, and Daily Kos. MoveOn and Demand Justice, groups trying to defeat Kavanaugh, did not sign on.

Republicans are targeting Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota as potential Kavanaugh supporters. Schumer is not whipping those members hard against the nominee, but isencouraging everyone to keep their powder dry at least until after Kavanaugh’s hearing.

The liberal groups say that tactic “is not only strategically and morally wrong, it will fail.”

“It is wrong to assume that a no vote on Kavanaugh puts red-state Democrats in electoral peril or somehow protects them from Republican attacks,” they write. “Anything less than 49 Democratic votes against Kavanaugh would be a massive failure of your leadership. We hope you won’t let us down.”  

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