Many Americans are rattled by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, wondering what it might portend for the future of abortion access or single-payer healthcare. Others, who may have found themselves inspired by the late Supreme Court Justice’s ascent to power, are grieving the loss of the woman herself. But for Republican power players, Ginsburg’s death is simply another opportunity to tighten their party’s grip on American politics—and, quite frankly, they’d be fools not to take it.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement mere hours after Ginsburg’s death on Friday night, CNN reports, vowing that whomever Donald Trump nominates to fill her seat before November’s election. “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” This, despite the fact that he blocked Obama nominee Merrick Garland under similar circumstances four years prior. McConnell has since, predictably, received the backing of Senate Majority Whip John Thune, as well as from Trump himself. “We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,” the President tweeted on Saturday, per CNN. “We have this obligation, without delay!”
It’s admittedly crass to talk about a woman’s death as if it were a game of political football, but in this case it is—and if Democrats want to win it, they have to actually play to win. Shadily quoting McConnell’s reasoning for blocking Garland’s nomination in order to subtly highlight the hypocrisy of his actions, as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did on Friday night, is not going to cut it. Congressional Democrats need to go for the jugular, much like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did in a Friday night Instagram video in which she painted the Senate Majority Leader as a menace to old women everywhere. “The very last dying wish of RBG was that her vacancy not be filled until the new president takes office in January,” the New York representative said in the clip, The Independent reports. “Mitch McConnell publicly, the night of her passing—he couldn’t wait 24 hours—issued a statement saying that he was going to give Trump a vote in violation of her dying wish.”
“This is a man who does not care about a dying woman’s final wish,” she concludes her unsparing, if accurate, portrait of McConnell. If her party’s leadership has any sense left, they’ll follow her lead. The time has come for them to slough off former First Lady Michelle Obama’s politically useless directive to “go high” when Republicans “go low.” Too many lives are at stake.