In these instances, there is a certain partisan temptation to read into things that the Democrats do. Since they are being cagey about their intentions to pack the Court, people are inclined to believe that they will actually do it. If this is what they want to do, they have more than enough reasons to hide their intentions. It’s never wise to tip your hand in situations like these.
The American voter is also not looking to expand the Court. It behooves the Democrats to keep their plans under wraps for as long as possible. The actual truth of the matter is not nearly as entertaining as all of that. If we had to guess? We would presume that the Democrats do not have all of the necessary votes yet.
They are not going to be able to obtain all of the votes that they need until after the election is over. Why would they make any major promises about packing the Court, if they do not know if they even can at this point? Any voter who might be leaning in their direction could be scared off by such tactics.
The party is doing everything that they can to position themselves as the normal alternative to all of the Trump-related wackiness at the GOP. There are a dozen battleground races that are fairly close. Even Republicans like Lindsey Graham are not totally safe. Graham could end up losing his seat if the elections do not go his way.
It’s not the time to be trying to pull off any crazy plans that involve Court-packing. This will frighten away any voters who are still sitting in the center. Progressives who don’t know better may champion the idea now but by the time next spring rolls around? They are going to be furious. This is not something that you can dangle in the moment because it sounds good.
When they are promised packed courts, they want to see it in action. Voters want to know if this is even an option before they decide to head to the polls. “There are so many reasons to vote for Democrats now — that we need to focus on the pandemic,” says Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“You know, we just passed 200,000 deaths. The president’s failure to deal with the pandemic and the public health and economic crises and his cruel and reckless indifference [are] costing lives,” he concluded. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey was a bit more diplomatic about the matter. “I think we’ve got to wait to get through the election. The key thing right now is people have to understand what’s at stake, especially on ACA and preexisting conditions,” said Casey.
He’s not the only one who is refusing to even entertain the conversation at this point. “No thoughts at the moment,” said New Mexico Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich when asked about the idea. “We have a job to do before we have that conversation,” Heinrich claims. Kamala Harris was asked about Court-packing and her resulting gibberish makes Biden look like a Rhodes scholar.
The Democrats may believe that they can carry out this idea but the reality is a simple one: math is not on their side. They need another half dozen seats to swing their way this fall to have any sort of shot. Even if they win these seats, their occupants are going to hail from battleground states. It doesn’t make much sense for these folks to immediately antagonize all Republican constituents.
If the election is decided without too much dispute, this issue could be tabled permanently. However, the Democrats may be holding onto this plan as a means of scaring Republicans away from a prolonged battle. If Trump is placed in office in an unjust manner, this is the lever that they could pull. The threat could not be acted on immediately but it would be enough to make someone like John Roberts think twice about aligning with Trump.