It is Time to Welcome Republican Senators into the Democratic Caucus

*Update: I’m already hearing that I’m wrong about Cotton, but I think their (Rs) predicted actions are still likely for any nominee and our (Ds) strategy should be considered.

  1. Trump will nominate Republican Senator Tom Cotton on Monday to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

2. The Senate will vote on Tom Cotton’s nomination in two weeks.

3. It is time to welcome vulnerable Republican senators into the Democratic caucus.

Senator Tom Cotton

These are my predictions. I hope they are wrong, but no matter the final scenario, I stand by my thoughts to invite Republicans to switch parties.

  1. Trump will nominate Republican Senator Tom Cotton on Monday to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is the Samuel Alito of the Senate. An arch conservative and zealot, Cotton is guaranteed to radically reverse reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights in America. In this case, we are talking about the loss of Constitutional rights to abortion, gay marriage, gay sex, trans employment as well as what remains of the Civil Rights Act, affirmative action, pot legalization, gun reform, and environmental laws. Perhaps most important will be 6–3 Supreme Court rulings that expand executive power so there are no longer three co-equal branches of government.

Cotton is the most likely of the potential nominees to be confirmed by the Senate because he is already in the body and Republicans can’t stand Ted Cruz.

Trump believes acting before the election will deliver him his base and win him the election. And three Supreme Court justices in four years is a lot of Supreme Court justices. Many Evangelicals will say thank you with their votes.

2. The Senate will vote on Tom Cotton’s nomination in two weeks.

The faster Mitch McConnell moves, the higher his likelihood of success.

Once the nominee is named next week, Mitch McConnell will bring them to the Senate floor for a vote within two weeks. An expert practitioner of poor form, McConnell said there will be a “vote on the floor” on the same day as the passing of Justice Ginsburg. Notice that he specifically avoided mentioning a Judiciary Committee vote. McConnell will attempt to bypass the Judiciary Committee and if that does not work, then he has Lindsey Graham to maneuver the nomination back to McConnell. If it goes to committee, expect three days of hearings.

3. Welcome Vulnerable Republican Senators into the Democratic Caucus.

Cook Political Report

This is about judicial obliteration.

With the nomination coming, the committee process avoided, and a two-week timetable for a Senate floor vote, the best option is to welcome key Republicans into the Senate Democratic caucus. I know. I know. But hear me out.

McConnell will put outrageous pressure on these Republicans. They will certainly not be welcome ever again in the caucus if they thwart a Republican President’s Supreme Court nominee. It therefore makes the most sense to give these Senators a landing pad, and Chairmanships... Yes, this may make these toss-up elections tighter but what are the alternatives.

In this scenario, it would be a win-win-win for Democrats. They stop the Supreme Court nominee, take control of the Senate immediately (or at least closer), and control the Senate after the election. So we go from a catastrophic position today to one that is better next week.

And let’s be honest. Two additional factors weight heavily here. First, the Democrats are the favorites to take back the Senate in the upcoming election. And the Republican party is now the party of Trump’s extremist cult.

This is a time to meet the moment. To defeat Trump more than any other. And to save our Democratic institutions for the next President, Joe Biden.


Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff has a BA in political science, a Masters in public policy, and a PhD in public policy.

Researcher on LGBTQ politics and emotions in public policy. Opinions are mine.