Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on the biggest development in US politics this week:
So, the scriptwriters for 2020 have thrown as a real curveball, introducing the most explosive element in US politics, just six weeks before the election. The tragic death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be remembered as a trailblazing jurist, but also a reliably liberal vote on a court that was divided along ideological lines with a five-four conservative majority. This has the potential to upend the presidential election. And likely will motivate turnout on both sides. But also, importantly for president, Trump could remind some Romney voting ex-Republicans who were leaning towards Biden why they were Republicans in the first place. Which means that it has the potential to push some persuadable voters back towards the president.
Ginsburg's seat is very unlikely to be filled before the election. That is a nightmare scenario for vulnerable Senate Republicans like Susan Collins from Maine, who's already in a lot of trouble in her home state for her vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's last Supreme Court nominee. But after the election, anything goes. The president's very likely to put forward a nominee who will be a reliable conservative, sometime in the next couple of days. And should he lose this election and push forward with this nominee anyway, which I would expect to happen, you're likely to see high levels of civil unrest that will make the summer's protests look like a Sunday afternoon tea party.
So, this is a truly explosive issue that has the potential to upend both a presidential election, but also US politics and the balance of power in the Supreme Court for a long time.
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