Summer was set to be a sleepy one in American politics, with hardly anything bubbling on the stove. Just the treatment of immigrants, a summit between President Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a possible effort to repeal Obamacare, new attention on immigration authority and immigration policy, foreign policy fights and tension with traditional U.S. allies, Trump’s new tariffs and trade efforts and, of course, midterm election positioning. But with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s announced retirement from the Supreme Court this week, things finally got interesting.
At some point, perhaps within the next week or two, Trump will announce his nominee to replace Kennedy. That person will then need to be confirmed by the Senate, one that has the narrowest possible Republican majority. Trump loses one Republican vote for his nominee, and Vice President Pence has to break the tie to get the nominee confirmed. Trump loses two Republican votes, and he loses his nominee.
That tension will be a focus of the aforementioned electoral jousting. In 2016, the decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to keep a Supreme Court seat open on the off chance that a Republican would win the presidency gave GOP voters an incentive to cast a ballot for a Republican that they might not otherwise have had. That play by McConnell had one of the biggest payoffs on a political bet in history.
Having an open seat in the news for the summer will likely have something of the same effect on Republicans this year: reminding them of how important a Republican majority is to holding the court. But it will also probably motivate Democrats to want to flip control of the Senate in a way that they weren’t motivated by.
So those are the questions at hand: When will McConnell try to move the confirmation vote for Trump’s nominee, considering the politics of it, and how many votes will result?
This is a situation in which the correct answers are known only to McConnell and the heavens. But to suss out an answer, we’ve decided to appeal to the next best authority: the wisdom of the masses.
When will the vote happen, and what will be the result? You tell us, below.
Once you make your selection, you can see what everyone else thinks, too.
If you are McConnell, we’d ask that you not use this tool. Instead, email your prediction to us here at The Washington Post, perhaps including a list of which senators you think will contribute to the vote total. If you have an idea of who the nominee will be, feel free to throw that in, too.
Everyone else: Click above.