Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) is making sense.
All it takes is one Republican to say “on judges and executive confirmations I will vote with the Democrats until this policy is reversed.”
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 20, 2018
To flesh this out a bit, the Senate is currently divided 51-49, with Republicans in the majority. As a practical matter, however, Republicans only have 50 votes because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is in Arizona battling brain cancer. So for the moment, each individual Republican in the Senate wields tremendous power.
This power could be used to, say, alter the trajectory of an ongoing moral atrocity.
A single Republican senator could shut down all confirmations by temporarily joining with the 49 Democrats. Two Republican senators could announce that they will caucus with Democrats until Trump stops taking children from their parents and imprisoning them, transforming Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) into the Senate’s minority leader.
If either of these scenarios played out, McConnell would almost certainly make ending Trump’s family separation policy a top priority. McConnell doesn’t just covet his own power, he views filing the federal bench with Federalist Society stalwarts as an all-consuming goal. Let’s recall: McConnell held a seat on the Supreme Court open for a year until Donald Trump could fill it. He recently canceled most of the Senate’s August recess after several of his fellow Republicans urged him to do so in order to give them more time to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees.
Conveniently, there are no shortage of Republican senators who say they oppose Trump’s human rights violations. Some of them, like Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), have already announced their retirement. So they literally have nothing to lose by taking a stand on this issue.
"Tender Age" shelters for toddlers? This gets even worse as the layers are peeled back. End the policy, Mr. President. https://t.co/KfyAXo6yTG
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) June 20, 2018
If Republicans like Flake are serious about stopping Trump, there is a very simple tactic they can choose to deploy, right now, to pressure the rogue executive. Or, they can choose to continue to mouth empty platitudes while allowing Trump to fill the government with ideologues.