Mitch McConnell Is Running Scared

The majority leader has sent some signals that the GOP—and his own position—might be in jeopardy this year.

For a couple of years now, Mitch McConnell has been acting like a majority leader who knows that his Republican Party is in decline. Other than passing tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy and large corporations, he hasn’t been interested in doing anything except confirming Trump’s judicial nominees. As I noted previously, that is because he is aware that his party will soon be out of power, but the extremist judges he’s confirming will be able to “legislate from the bench.”

Lately, McConnell has sent some signals that the Republican Party—and possibly his own position—might be in jeopardy this year. The first signal has to do with his ongoing attempts to stack the courts with extremist judges. Not content to have confirmed two Supreme Court justices and 191 other federal judges, McConnell has been trying to force additional openings.

Running out of federal court vacancies to fill, Senate Republicans have been quietly making overtures to sitting Republican-nominated judges who are eligible to retire to urge them to step aside so they can be replaced while the party still holds the Senate and the White House.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has used his position as majority leader to build a judicial confirmation juggernaut for President Trump over the past three years, has been personally reaching out to judges to sound them out on their plans and assure them that they would have a worthy successor if they gave up their seats soon, according to multiple people with knowledge of his actions…

Republicans are reminding the judges that it could be another eight years — 2029 — before they could leave under a Republican president.

While that is a typically despicable move by the senate majority leader, it indicates that he knows that he’s running out of time.

But McConnell has also demonstrated that he fears the prospect of facing an opponent like Amy McGrath in his bid for re-election. Instead of having the Senate vote on the package passed by the House to support American families during the coronavirus crisis, McConnell went home to Kentucky for a long weekend. Perhaps he got an idea of what’s up with his constituency because this is what was reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign called on a potential Democratic opponent — former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath — to stop running political advertisements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Amy McGrath’s decision to blanket the airwaves with deceitful ads during the coronavirus outbreak is tasteless and shameful,” said McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden. “As Kentuckians adjust their daily lives and schedules to help stem the outbreak, the last thing they need to see on TV is negative political advertising. The McGrath campaign must stop airing all of their advertisements.”

In case you’re wondering what kind of “deceitful” ads McGrath is running, here is one of her latest.

What McConnell really wants is to stop McGrath from telling the truth, as she’s doing lately on Twitter.

The Senate majority leader doesn’t want McGrath to point out how he’s failed the people of Kentucky while playing power games that undermine our democracy.

Polling for a potential race between McConnell and McGrath has been sparse because she will have to first win a primary that has been postponed to June 23rd. But the few that have been conducted so far show a tight race. Here is what might have McConnell worried.

A record number of Kentucky residents are registered to vote as of Jan. 31, Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) announced on Tuesday.

More than 3.4 million Kentuckians are now registered, marking a new high for the state…

According to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office, 48% of Kentucky voters are registered as Democrats, 43% are Republicans, and 9% are “listed under other affiliations.”

The Senate majority leader certainly isn’t about to go down without a fight, and he has a reputation for being willing to go deep into the gutter to take down an opponent. But at this point, we’re seeing some signs that he’s running scared.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.