All errors should be reported to

Sunday, April 09, 2017

How Mitch McConnell elected Donald Trump president

Fred Barnes has an excellent piece in the Weekly Standard, "How Mitch McConnell Won the Battle to Confirm Gorsuch."

The story is a reminder just how much this great nation owes the Senate majority leader for the Donald Trump presidency. No McConnell, no President Trump.

The story began with the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016.

Justice Scalia's death was sudden and McConnell's immediate reaction was harsh.

From Politico:
McConnell throws down the gauntlet: No Scalia replacement under Obama
The Senate majority leader's challenge to the president's nominating authority appears to be unprecedented.
After nearly eight years of Barack Obama abusing Republicans, McConnell had it.

Of course, delaying the filling of a high court vacancy was with precedent.

From Politico:
McConnell bets the Senate on Gorsuch
The Republican leader's Supreme Court gambit secures his place in history — but at what cost to the Senate?
The cost to the Senate was minimal. Comity was long gone. It is an occasional flower anyway that blossoms only when one party is so dominant that the minority party has no choice but to go along to get along.

McConnell's refusal to consider Obama's nominee was ideologically brilliant, and politically necessary.

To maintain control of the Senate, McConnell needed to hold 20 of the 24 Republican seats on the ballot in 2016. Democrats had to defend but 10. (The roles reverse next year with Democrats defending 24.)

Losing only four seats would mean a 50-50 Senate, which would mean he needed a Republican president.

From Fred Barnes:
When I interviewed McConnell shortly after Gorsuch was confirmed, he wanted to talk before I asked a question. He had plenty to say. It's rare there are things "you can say you did on your own." One was his snap decision to bar the Senate from taking up a Supreme Court nomination until a new president took office. Only the majority leader could do this. "It is the most consequential decision I ever made," McConnell said.
And it turned out the open seat was an "electoral asset" for Trump. Voters didn't like him or Hillary Clinton. But once filling the seat became the "principal issue," Trump had the advantage. Everyone knew she would dump Garland, a moderate, for someone further to the left.
"We didn't know if the president would be a conservative or not," McConnell said. However, he had promised to pick a nominee from a list of 20 conservative jurists. (McConnell had advocated such a list.) "This reassured conservatives." The result: he got 90 percent of the Republican vote and won.
McConnell was rewarded by maintaining his leadership. There is no doubt that McConnell is the best man for an occasionally thankless job.

His political relationship with The Donald was symbiotic.

On November 8, there were Senate races in 22 of the 30 states President Trump carried.

Republicans won ever one of those races -- and lost every one of the 12 seats in the 20 states Hillary carried.

That is unusual, but ticket-splitting is back to the lows of the 19th century. A Southern congressman caned a Northern senator to within an inch of his life, and senators did nothing to the assailant.

Such was the geographical division of our nation between slavers and abolitionists, and such is the division today between the haves (Virginia) and the have-nots (neighboring West Virginia).

The actual confirmation vote was not easy. The senators McConnell had to work with were Persian, Siamese, Himalayan, Manx, Cheshire -- and yet he herded those cats up and moved them all out.

McConnell is a hard man for conservatives to like, but he is the best thing conservatives have going for them in this Senate. Love Ted Cruz's speeches, but give me McConnell's action.

The original."Trump the Press" chronicled and mocked how the media missed Trump's nomination.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.
Then came "Trump the Establishment," covering the election, which again the media missed.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Autographed copies of both books are available by writing me at

Please follow me on Twitter.

Friend me on Facebook.


  1. I have disliked McConnell because the GOP appeared not to have a backbone to resist Obama, but he did come through with the SCOTUS. I'll take a wait see attitude on future actions.

  2. I feel much better about Mitch!

  3. To be fair, when McConnell decided to enforce the 'Biden rule' he thought he was helping elect Jeb! not Trump.

  4. Nope, I cannot agree. He's a disaster for this nation. His fellow Republicans probably threatened to replace him if he allowed Obama's nominee through. He's had five months now and there is not one major piece of legislation he can point to. He took four months to finally pull the trigger on the nuclear option. I'm not impressed by such a foot dragger. McConnell is a disaster for this nation. He's a swamp creature.

  5. Well, the thanks for a thankless job is another thankless job.

  6. McConnell funneled a lot of money to Cruz, but, give him credit, he came through here.

    He also seems to be lighting a fire under the Senate to get the last of trump's appointees confirmed.

  7. The best columns are the ones that make you re-examine long held beliefs. Big D, this is one of them. I woulda bet a lot of money that MitchMac would not go nuclear because, you know, it's not "the way of the Senate." I woulda lost. It's almost like DJT applied a treatment of Miracle Gro to Mitch's groin area and Shazam!

  8. But he's failed to repeal KenyaCare.

    - Mark S.

  9. Uh, like others, color me not so impressed. Holding the seat for the next President was excellent and really, a no-brainer ... BUT.. McConnell's block helped the GOP nominee.. whoever it would have been.... and there can be no doubt that McConnell had no idea it would be Trump ( none of the GOPe saw that coming ) and what he said about the list... instead of endearing Mitch to me... it shows, that Mitch trusts Trump very little.

    Mitch, thanks for holding the seat open. Since Nov 8th, you have been less than helpful EXCEPT for SCOTUS, and that served your purpose... but on other issues... you've taken no risks and made no bold moves to get stuff done with the President ( that is visible to us ). Maybe too harsh, but I"m not ready to pat McConnell on the back ..yet.