President Donald Trump is set to reveal his Supreme Court pick Monday night, but Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is already warning Senate Democrats that they can kiss his support goodbye if they cross the aisle and vote to confirm Trump’s nominee.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) both face tough re-election campaigns as “moderate” Democrats in states Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election and both crossed the aisle to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. With Republicans well aware that they could lose two “moderates” in their own ranks, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the GOP has, no doubt, been reaching out to both Manchin and Heitkamp.
To combat their influence, Schumer is reportedly putting the screws on his flight-risk caucus members, warning them that they may not get help in tight Congressional races if they abandon the party to confirm a Trump pick.
Schumer, in turn, has found himself under pressure from the Left to block Trump’s SCOTUS nominee.
“The message from grassroots groups is pretty clear: that if Democratic leadership can keep their caucus unified in doing no harm, we can aim our firepower on Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and bring full pressure to bear in their states,” one progressive activist told Politico.
There aren’t many options left for the Senate minority leader, however. Thanks to retired Senator Harry Reid, the Republicans are armed with the “nuclear option” and need only a simple majority — which they have if their entire caucus stays together — to put anyone Trump selects on the bench. Schumer made one last-ditch effort to ask President Trump to nominate Merrick Garland — the abandoned Supreme Court nominee from former President Barack Obama’s final months — but the idea was met with immediate scorn.