The thousands of people who spontaneously packed the plaza outside the Supreme Court Friday night and again on Saturday for impromptu vigils show how deeply many Americans cared for Ginsburg’s ideals, and about her replacement. If McConnell appears able to forge ahead with a vote on Trump’s nominee, either in October or during a lame duck session after the election, that energy must be channeled into massive civil disobedience on an unprecedented level.
If McConnell sets a date for a confirmation vote, the American people need to respond with a general strike — to shut down the entire country, maybe for a day or two, maybe a week, maybe longer. This is a tactic that — although it’s succeeded on a municipal level, in a different century — hasn’t ever worked on a national scale. American capitalism can brutally punish displays of courage around work. But there’s a first time for everything, and if an authoritarian power grab won’t do it, then our democracy is beyond saving.
I also see a general strike as a galvanizing tool — both to drag too often cowardly Democratic leaders toward facing the realities of the Trump/McConnell threat, but also to rally strike participants behind longer-term protest measures.
Nonetheless, there are other measures which can be taken within the legislative system, turning "not me, us" on its head.
The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur outlines a few of the possibilities in the video below. Two seem to stand out as most practical, ones which Republicans would take if roles were reversed.
Democrats could ask for "unanimous consent" "on every vote there is between now and November 30" because a quorum of 50 Senators would be needed for a quorum to proceed. He notes that the vote for senator from Arizona is a special election, likely to be won by Democrat Mark Kelly over incumbent Martha McSally. (Democrats might have to hold out until January 3, when the new Senate- possibly a Democratic controlled one- is sworn in.)
Alternatively, Democrats could refuse to lift the debt ceiling and/or refuse to agree to a continuing resolution until the GOP Senate agrees to drop consideration of a replacement for Justice Ginsburg. Senate Democrats don't have enough votes to pull this off themselves, Uygur concedes, but "You need the (Democratic-controlled) House to pass those."
But Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have to demonstrate leadership, though they are fond of playing softball and so may not utilize any of the tactics at their disposal. However, Uygur concludes of ("cowardly," as characterized by Bunch) Democrats that with
all that is on the line, if you can't get it done, then we're going to primary you not just because you're wrong ideologically and you're out of step with Democratic voters ideologically, but also because you're incompetent. You let Donald Trump walk into the White House, you lost a thousand seats over a decade and then on top of that if you lose the Supreme Court for three decades, there is no disputing how epic a failure the Democratic leadership is.
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