The 2016 Election and the Supreme Court

The next Presidential election is shaping up to be a race between Hillary Clinton and whoever of the 15 or so current candidates wins the Republican nomination.

Or, to put it differently, IF Clinton wins the election (which is definitely not a given), the future makeup of the Supreme Court will remain in safe hands. Therefore, she will have to be relying on a lot of otherwise reluctant Democrats, which could be a very dangerous thing to do.

On the other hand, if the ultimate Republican candidate were to win the general election, the future makeup of the Supreme Court would be, to most Democrats, in VERY unsafe hands.

The safe vs. unsafe description of the Supreme Court very much dictates the future of [1] campaign finance [2] health care and [3] tax equities and income inequalities.

Therefore, perhaps for the first time in history, the role of future Supreme Court appointments really might or should become the pivotal issue in this Presidential election.

That said, most Presidential elections turn on personality, current events and economic or foreign issues. This one, odds on, may be no different.

It also begins to be clear that Clinton’s strategy will be to ignore all the beyond reach red states and show up as necessary in the traditional blue states PLUS put on a full court press in the three big toss up states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Republican, whoever they may be, surely will do pretty much the same thing.

So — what happens?

Who gets a leg up in those three swing states?

That may be easier said than done. But that is also where future selections for the Court may become part of the equation.

Two of the possible Republican candidates are from Florida and are very popular there. That puts both Bush and Rubio into a favorable position for the nomination, and could help them both in the general election.

Ohio is a different story. Kasich is highly unlikely to get nominated, but he is very well-known and popular there.

That suggests he might have a leg up to be VP on the Republican ticket; if Bush or Rubio is the nominee, the combination will give the Republican nominee a nice advantage in both Florida and Ohio. Therefore it is IMPERATIVE that Hillary stress the Supreme Court card very visibly.

And, since the Republican convention is BEFORE the Democratic convention, if Kasich does not make the VP Republican sweepstakes, he just might be interested in hearing from Hillary.

So at the end, Kasich might hold the swing votes in the election.

That leaves Pennsylvania, Kentucky and perhaps Illinois. Perhaps Democrat Bob Casey or Republican Santorum who are well known and popular in Pennsylvania might come into play as VP candidates for either party’s Presidential nominees and or other leaders in their respective parties in the other states.

It is also not beyond imagination that the eventual Republican nominee might try to directly address the Supreme Court issue. Some Democratic voters might be less nervous about such a Republican nominee, if that person explicitly promised to give the Senate a real opportunity to ADVISE as well as consent. What that would actually do in the event is obviously very unclear.

Remember that Bush has stressed the difference between getting nominated and elected. He might just turn out to appear to be a lot less conservative after he is nominated, which might be vital to overcome the Court issues and to his getting elected?

Presidential politics this and next year may prove to be more interesting, complicated and decisive for the future than we have seen in a long time.

Remember from your early American history that in 1800 the VP was the Presidential candidate with the second greatest number of Electoral College votes.

While we are unlikely to ever go back to that system, mixing the political parties on a ticket might just make a comeback and the difference.


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