Want Someone To Blame About Merrick Garland? Blame Complacent Democrats

The republicans got away with it.  They obstructed the constitutionally-guided process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice, and it worked.   While the GOP’s tactics were certainly abhorrent and unconstitutional, and their excuses were thin and groundless, it was up to the democratic party to inform the public of what a grievous injustice this was—and they didn’t do nearly enough.  President Obama excoriated the GOP on a few occasions, and other senators and house members complained to the media and issued what were essentially toothless statements on various occasions. But this warranted more anger, more vitriol, more passion, more organization.

10 months, that’s how long the democratic party and their allies had to build to build a movement; that’s how long they had to show the populace at large that the opposition party (a party who, coincidentally claims to be helplessly devoted to the constitution, and even more coincidentally, were refusing to fill the seat of a constitutional originalist) were openly sabotaging a staple of our democratic process used since 1925.  There should’ve been a groundswell throughout the democratic party; in the first month there should’ve been marches and demonstrations all over the U.S.  Instead there was a lot of talking, a lot of carping and whining instead of action.  The government should’ve come to a screeching halt the moment the GOP refused to vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland—which was only minutes after Obama announced Garland last March.  Progressive organizations should’ve been planning mass demonstrations with lawmakers and local leaders like they have been over the last few months.

Where was the desperation?

Were they really that confident that they would win the presidency?

Through the unforgiving lens of hindsight, the timidity and cavalier lack of urgency is indefensible.  The court was/is split, and left-leaning justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg (84) and Stephen Breyer (78) may not serve under another president.  This particular appointment will play a significant role in the future direction of this country, and the democrats let the republicans steal it out from under them.

The dems may be showing a bit of verve now by forcing the senate to go nuclear, but it’s too little too late.  Gorsuch is going to get a seat on the Supreme Court, a seat that should’ve been Merrick Garland’s.  This was a catastrophe of process that the democrats won’t soon forget—nor should they.  Complacency is a virus, and it spread through the party last year removing spines by the fistful.  They got used to relying on the power of the white house.  It’s more difficult to be adversarial and aggressive when your guy is at the podium—but that’s no excuse.

Of course, the republican party should be vilified for their behavior, but the democrats don’t deserve to be let off the hook here.

They let the GOP subvert our founding document in broad daylight, and they failed to even make them pay politically. The optics were clearly on the side of the democrats, and yet they let a weak comparison to a 24-year-old statement from Joe Biden dominate the news cycle and legitimize the mission of Mitch McConnell and company.

What happened to Merrick Garland was wrong, and the democratic party didn’t do enough to show the country just how wrong it was.


by Jesse Mechanic

Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.

Twitter-logo-6-12 @jmechanic    Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 12.44.16 PM  @JesseIanMechanic


  • Andrew Gillette says:

    We learned from watching you dad. Opposition, opposition, opposition.


    How much hypocrisy can one nation stand? Vilify the republicans? This is part of what’s wrong with America today. Democrats and Republicans are there to balance one another out, Republicans are not villans the sooner you guys figure that out the better your party will be and the better off we’ll all be.

    • Jesse Mechanic says:

      Well this article doesn’t really vilify republicans as much as it condemns democrats for being rather spineless. And the Schumer comparison is a false equivalency – he’s was speaking of trying to shut down GOP nominees by voting, he wanted to “reverse the presumption of confirmation[.]” Voting down the nominee is an entirely different scenario. But Merrick Garland never received a vote – that was absolutely wrong. It was blatant obstructionism and it goes directly against the constitutionally-guided process. Now would the democrats have done the same thing? It’s certainly possible. But the GOP wouldn’t have let them get away with it, that’s my point.

      Now I do agree that partisanship has gone off the rails, but why is it the democrats’ responsibility to now find common ground when the GOP obstructed Obama at every turn, when they spread lies about his legitimacy and death panels, and his religion and the content of his legislation? The GOP played hardball for eight years under Obama and the democrats now have to respond in turn or risk being rolled over. Is it petty? Absolutely, it’s politics. It’s gross. The two party system has a myriad of inherent flaws.

      While it’s nice in theory to come together and get along, Donald Trump is not a centrist – he’s an extremist. This administration has put forth wildly partisan policies that are important to cover:Taking health insurance away from 24 million people, lifting restrictions so companies can destroy the planet, upping our involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, bolstering our drone attacks, decreasing foreign aid in the face of historic famine, dismantling the EPA and the Dept. of the Interior, cutting programs for the poor and the elderly, slashing art programs, inciting a war on immigrants and refugees, removing federal protections for LGBTQ folks.
      All of this stuff matters. To sit back and not cover it is to be complicit. And The Overgrown will not be complicit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *