One is silent. Joe Biden conspicuously avoids the issue that the death of progressive constitutional judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg has moved to the center of the election campaign. Who will name President Trump his successor and will there be a permanent Conservative majority in the Supreme Court?
That would have far-reaching consequences for polarizing questions such as the validity of “Obamacare”, the health insurance reform, for the division of powers between the federal government and individual states, the minimum wage and environmental and climate policy. Why doesn’t the Democratic presidential candidate take up the dispute – and how long can he last?
Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday. A rave obituary came quickly from Biden. And then nothing for a very long time.
After Ginsburg’s death, Trump turns up, Biden goes underground
On Saturday, he canceled all campaign appearances and public statements out of piety towards the deceased. At the same time, Trump sparked a fireworks display from the media: the replacement will not tolerate any delay. Left-wing democrats and citizen movements did the same, with the opposite message: Under no circumstances should a new constitutional judge enter an accelerated trial. That would have to wait until after the elections.
Donald Trump in his element: With the controversy over the Supreme Court, he beats up his supporters here at a rally in … Photo: Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images / AFP
On Sunday, Biden came under such pressure that he briefly alluded to the topic during an election campaign. But it was limited to a few aspects. It is not fair that in 2016 the Republicans refused to fill the post of judge, which had become vacant following the death of Antonin Scalia, with their Senate majority – on the grounds that such an important decision would have to wait until after the election. . And that they now reasoned in reverse.
Incidentally, he doesn’t believe a quick replacement would benefit Trump, he downplayed its importance; the subject mobilizes not only its supporters, but also democrats. However, he does not want to exchange blows with Trump over the succession and its timing. Because he is not accessible to arguments and does what he wants. He did not respond to requests for Biden to say who he would nominate to the Supreme Court. He stuck to this cautious line.
How long can he last? Until the TV debate on Tuesday
Can it go well: the challenger refuses to discuss the currently open topic? By Tuesday, the first TV debate will put an end to this tactic. But why is Biden taking this course anyway?
Biden calculates purely utilitarian: who is it good for, Trump or him? And concludes that a switch from the questions that have so far dominated the election campaign – Corona, the economic crisis, protests against police brutality – to the fight for Ginsburg’s successor is in Trump’s interest.
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The preceding dynamic gave Biden an edge. On average, it leads the national surveys by 6.6 percentage points and in the decisive “battlefield states” by 3.8 percentage points. “Do no harm!” – don’t change anything if everything goes well. With this risk-averse motto, he has been successful so far, even when critics scoffed at hiding in the basement of his Delaware home instead of aggressively campaigning.
Initially, the majority in the Senate was at stake. It is over
Biden knows he can mobilize Democratic voters for fear of a strategic change at the Constitutional Court. But the bottom line is that this polarization would be of more use to Trump than to him, because it puts Trump out of the defense. Why should he participate?
The succession issue could put Trump in the role of the successful doer. It becomes clear that the Republican majority of the Senate is present. The risk of conservative Senate members fearing reelection succumbing to public pressure has diminished in recent days.
Trump’s success is foreseeable. Why increase it through resistance?
Initially, two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they were in favor of postponing the replacement until after the election. Immediate speculation arose that Cory Gardner, who is behind his Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper in Colorado, would also collapse. Mitt Romney of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa were other shaky candidates.
Trump can afford up to three deviants. But at the beginning of the week, first Gardner and Grassley, then Romney, stated that they were behind Trump on this point. The incumbent party can therefore count on a victory for the elections. Biden does not want to add value to the foreseeable victory through resistance. Then he would be a loser. Advisers from his area confirm this calculation in the American media.
Biden relies on his own strengths
Biden sees more benefit in avoiding the discussion for as long as possible and tackling the issues where he sees himself in favor. It balances instead of polarizing. It does not raise fears. He has a reliable character. He treats people with respect and compassion.
And when asked to the Supreme Court in the televised debate, he sticks to his ‘talking points’: the issue of fairness and the hint that the Supreme Court will soon rule on ‘Obamacare’ – knowing that the majority of voters now think it expanding health insurance is a good thing.