Webb’s Wrap: Presidential election upended with Supreme Court vacancy . . . More policy wonks . . . Trust in fed gov is paltry

“Blockbuster!” “Bombshell!” are way overused, especially as Democrats use those words to describe Trump’s daily peccadilloes.

But both words are justified in describing the impact of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the 2020 presidential election campaign. It is insane that a presidential race where the stakes were already sky high could become so dramatically more consequential.

Pundits are arguing over the impact of this development, whether it helps or hurts Trump, whether it diverts attention away from COVID-19, whether it will energize the base of either or both political parties.

I assume Trump will nominate a qualified person. But I don’t like the fact that he already announced it will be a woman. Why eliminate more than half of the nominee prospects, an entire demographic category, before even looking at who is best qualified? It smacks of pandering, and it’s what Joe Biden has done by pledging to appoint a black woman if he is elected and gets an appointment.

Even if being female is an important criterion, among others, why not just make the appointment and say the best qualified person was nominated?

I believe Sen. Mike Lee might have had serious consideration as a nominee were it not for the commitment to appoint a woman. Trump must get this nomination through the Senate very quickly, and Lee would have a decent shot at confirmation by his fellow senators.

A real question is how ugly this confirmation fight will get. Will opposition to Trump’s nominee and the Senate confirmation process erupt in violence and rioting in the streets? It’s entirely possible. Middle-class Americans are weary of violent protests and the backlash might hurt the Democrats.

Good reads.Timely opinion essay by Matt Sandgren in the Washington Times on how to gain the upper hand in the cyber cold war with China. Sandgren is executive director of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation and former staff director of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force.

–Democrat Kael Weston may be a longshot to win his race against Congressman Chris Stewart in the 2nd Congressional District, but he is a good writer (as is Stewart). Check out THIS ESSAY Weston wrote about camping along the campaign trail in remote southern Utah, enjoying the dark skies that help put things in proper perspective. Short excerpt: “I encourage each of you, particularly if you reside in Utah, to get out on the road. To camp if you can. Build a campfire. Set up a tent. Look up under our state’s dark skies. Maybe get lost in thought and imagination (possible signs of life in Venus’s high clouds according to recent headlines) … even if for just a short while … before 2020’s realities set back in.”

Reader Response. Regarding my essay last week about Utah’s top policy wonks, Randy Simmons wrote that a couple of “glaring omissions” were Connor Boyack at Libertas Institute, Neil Abercrombie at Utah State University, Utah State Auditor John Dougall, and Royce VanTassel, who “is as wonky as they come.” VanTassel runs the Utah Public Charter School Association.  And, of course, Simmons himself is a serious policy wonk with Libertarian leanings. He is the director of the Institute of Political Economy at USU.

Parting shot. Just 20% of U.S. adults say they trust the government in Washington to “do the right thing” just about always or most of the time, according to a recent poll from Pew Research Center. Americans do have more confidence in the federal government’s handling of specific issues, like terrorism and disasters.

The 20 percent trust level is further evidence that the federal government is trying to do too much, and it isn’t performing well. State and local governments have higher trust levels. More government duties should be executed at state and local levels, with more funding left for them to do the job.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].