The week ahead. Big political happenings:
--Hearings begin this morning in the U.S. Senate for the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to SCOTUS.
--Important 4th Congressional District debate tonight at 6 matching incumbent Democrat Ben McAdams against GOP challenger Burgess Owens in Utah's most hotly contested major race.
--And 2020 election ballots begin to be mailed tomorrow, giving voters plenty of time to study all those constitutional amendments.
Senate SCOTUS showdown. All eyes in the political world today are on the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Utah Sen. Mike Lee will apparently participate remotely as he is recovering from the COVID-19 virus.
The circumstances of these hearings, of course, are quite remarkable, with Pres. Trump getting his third SCOTUS appointment at the very end of his first term. The buildup to the hearings has been somewhat overshadowed by Trump contracting COVID-19 and all the presidential debate drama. But now it will all be about Barrett and the Supreme Court.
The hearings should be a net plus for Trump politically. He's got a great nominee, Democrats are in a tough spot, and the nomination should remind mainstream conservatives (like me) who don't like Trump personally why it's critical to have a Republican in the White House.
It's also a great opportunity for Republicans to keep asking Democrats why they and their presidential ticket refuse to say whether they support packing the Supreme Court if they take over the government.
However, despite all these positive opportunities for Republicans, Trump is more than capable of stepping on a great message and diverting attention from the confirmation hearings by saying or doing something outrageous. He's done that a few hundred times in the last four years.
Political people. Sen. Mike Lee recently let loose a little inner Trump by posting a provocative tweetstorm with little explanation. "We are not a democracy," he said in one post. "Democracy isn't the objective," he said in another, "liberty, peace, and prosperity are. . . . Rank democracy can thwart that."
Lee was obviously trying to provoke people who don't understand the difference between pure democracy and a constitutional republic. And an awful lot of people rose to the bait. Lee is correct that the United States is not a pure democracy. Otherwise, we wouldn't have two senators representing each state, however large or small; we wouldn't have the electoral college; and we'd be voting on almost every issue.
Reader response. Cole Capener wrote: First, thank you for starting Utah Policy. It's a prodigious contribution to what is a critical discussion of local and national politics. I've noticed a slight change in tone with the new ownership--or maybe just personnel departures--but I still enjoy reading it every day.
Your piece today (last Thursday on Total Control By Democrats did leave me disappointed, however. I have never thought of you as one who receives all his news from "Faux News" but your writing today sounded like it. Faux News routinely uses AOC, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as representative of the Democratic Party and that's just not true. As I'm sure you know, some 70% of self-identifying Democrats consider themselves center or center-left. In 2018, just when everyone thought "Blue Dog Democrats" had disappeared, forty were elected to the House. What that means is that when the Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House, as they will after the election, it will still be very unlikely that extremist positions (not even favored by most Democrats) like abolishing ICE or defunding the police (although, as you know, that's a local issue), will be adopted. Yes, you are right that the Democrats will fight amongst themselves but that just means the crazy stuff proposed by some of the far left will never pass. What we can expect, however, is some good governance after four years of abysmal Republican leadership. The House has passed some 200+ bills in the past session; none of which has been taken up in the McConnell-led Senate. In 2021, things will change for the better.
Parting Shot. It's nice that the world has reverted to its natural order and it's normal once again to hate the Lakers.