President Obama has nominated Loretta Lynch, an African American woman and federal prosecutor, to the post of Attorney General. Republicans have expressed muted support for the nomination.

But now Ted Cruz wants the new GOP Senate majority to go to war against her over immigration. He and Senator Mike Lee are insisting that her confirmation vote must wait until the new GOP majority takes over, and are pushing her to reveal her stance on Obama’s expected executive action to defer the deportations of potentially millions of people. In a statement, Cruz and Lee say:

“President Obama’s Attorney General nominee deserves fair and full consideration of the United States Senate, which is precisely why she should not be confirmed in the lame duck session of Congress by senators who just lost their seats and are no longer accountable to the voters. The Attorney General is the President’s chief law enforcement officer. As such, the nominee must demonstrate full and complete commitment to the law. Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement whether or not she believes the President’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal.”

Roll Call’s Steven Dennis observes that this could complicate GOP efforts to improve its appeal among key voter groups that will matter more to the GOP’s chances in the 2016 elections than they did in last week’s electoral rout:

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It’s…unclear yet how many Republicans would actually vote to block Lynch over the issue. A number of Republicans face potentially difficult re-election bids in 2016 in blue states. And the party would be blocking the first African American woman attorney general over immigration when party leaders have professed a desire to do more to appeal to African Americans, women and Hispanics.

Cruz appears likely to demand the GOP adopt a Total War posture against Lynch, as part of a broader stand against Obama’s effort to bring deportation relief to millions.

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We still don’t know for sure whether Obama will act to defer deportations, and if so, how ambitious his actions will be. But if it does impact a few million people, as seems very possible, the Conservative Entertainment Complex may well go into five alarm overdrive, given that this issue combines “amnesty” with alleged executive overreach.

Pretty much every Republican official in the country, of course, will go before the cameras and fulminate against Obama’s actions, and there will be Congressional votes to roll them back. Those will be blocked by Senate Democrats or vetoed by the President. But at that point, how far will GOP leaders really want to go to fight them, and for how long? Mitch McConnell has vowed no government shutdowns. But conservatives may demand government funding fights to fight Obama’s Executive Amnesty, as they like to call it.

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As we head into the 2016 elections, which will unfold amid a presidential year electorate very different from the one that enabled the sweeping GOP victory last week, will GOP leaders really want to keep fighting on behalf of maximum deportations as long and hard as Cruz and other conservatives will demand? The battle over Lynch cold provide our first glimpse of an answer to that question.

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* MITCH McCONELL PLANS TO SIDELINE TED CRUZ: Jeremy Peters has a nice look at the deep divisions that are already emerging between the new GOP Senate majority’s leadership, and insurgents such as Ted Cruz who are already angry that the GOP doesn’t intend to keep up the crusade to repeal Obamacare until the end of time. Interesting:

Privately, McConnell aides say they are less concerned these days about the impact of senators like Mr. Cruz, whom they describe as an “army of one.” Mr. McConnell believes his standing with conservative voters is solid….He and his allies dismiss their Tea Party opponents as “for-profit conservatives” because of the fund-raising they do in the name of purifying the Republican brand.

An “army of one,” eh? I guess we’ll see about that.

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*McCONNELL UNDER PRESSURE ON OBAMACARE: The Hill reports that conservative groups plan to mount serious pressure on the new Senate Majority Leader to use the tool known as “reconciliation” to force simple majority votes on the repeal of Obamacare. This underscores the degree to which conservatives will expect the GOP to keep up the fight against the health law.

Of course, if Ted Cruz is merely an “army of one,” then GOP leaders can simply shrug off this pressure, right?

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* REPUBLICANS GEAR UP TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT: Philip Rucker has a useful overview of the jockeying underway among Republican governors and Senators who are putting all the pieces in place for a presidential run. This, from one GOP strategist, is noteworthy:

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“Midterms are brake-pedal elections. They’re about the incumbent and a course correction. Presidential-year elections are accelerator elections. They’re about where the country should go. We’ve proven we can win elections that are about saying ‘no,’ but we haven’t proven we can win an election about leading and taking people to a better place.”

Endless investigations and another few dozen votes to destroy Obamacare should help with that.

The Democratic losses were not simply because of low turnout. Republicans often made significant gains among rural, white voters. Some candidates made inroads among young and Hispanic voters, as well…But the Republican path is also narrow, one the Democrats could block if they reassemble their support among the young, nonwhite and suburban voters whom President Obama won in 2008 and 2012. In the simplest of terms, Republicans made progress this year toward solving their demographic problems, but not enough.

Two key questions: Can Democrats replicate their Obama coalition of young and minority voters behind another nominee? Can that nominee outperform Obama among white voters? As Cohn notes, neither is a given.

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A Democratic Party paralyzed on economics won’t deserve to prevail. The president and his party — including Clinton — must find a way of touting their stewardship while advancing a bold but realistic agenda that meets the demands of Americans who are still hurting. This encompasses not only defending government’s role in achieving shared growth but also, as Obama suggested Friday, restoring faith in how government works.

And as I’ve reported, Democratic strategists believe emphasizing stagnating wages and the failure of the recovery’s gains to achieve wider distribution must be central to this.

* A GUIDE TO THE LATEST OBAMACARE CHALLENGE: Law professor Nicholas Bagley, one of the smartest critics of the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court will hear, has compiled all of his writings on the matter. You should read them all.

States like California that run their own exchanges would be unaffected. But in places…where G.O.P. politicians refused to take a role, premiums would soar, healthy individuals would drop out, and health reform would go into a death spiral. (And since many people would lose crucial, lifesaving coverage, the deaths wouldn’t be just a metaphor.)…let’s be clear about what’s happening here. Judges who support this cruel absurdity aren’t stupid; they know what they’re doing. What they are, instead, is corrupt, willing to pervert the law to serve political masters. And what we’ll find out in the months ahead is how deep the corruption goes.
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