Election 2020

Democratic donations skyrocket

Anti-Trump billboard in Phoenix (Arizona)

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POLITICS PRESS GROUP

The imminent confirmation battle over RBG’s seat has prompted Trump to galvanize supporters from the rally stage—“Fill that seat!” they chanted Saturday—while Biden zeroes in on health care and Democrats open their wallets. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, and the future of the nation’s highest court, quickly moved front and center in an election year marked by a pandemic, protests against racial injustice, and impeachment.

The imminent confirmation battle over the Supreme Court vacancy is already reshaping the presidential race, with President Donald Trump encouraging the Senate Republicans’ shameless attempt to replace Ginsburg.

At a campaign event in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Saturday, Trump said he would put forth a nominee to fill the vacant seat next week and that the candidate would be a woman, Politico reported. He cited Article II of the Constitution—a section Trump has previously claimed gives him “the right to do whatever I want”—as the grounds for doing so. “So Article 2 of our Constitution says the president shall nominate justices of the Supreme Court,” he said.

“I don't think it can be any more clear ... I don't think so. I don't think so,” remarks that prompted chants from the crowd to “Fill that seat!” Trump responded to their rally cry with a promise. “That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to fill the seat,” he said, drawing cheers.

Trump rambled through many topics during his rally speech—including, reliably, attacks on Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s mental acuity and false claims about mail-in voting fraud—but continued to refer back to the Supreme Court issue.

“We’re very close to a great deal with TikTok, TikTok—but nobody cares about that anymore,” Trump said. “All they care about is fill that seat, right?” The president took a dig at Maine Senator Susan Collins, who said earlier Saturday that the Senate should wait to vote on a nominee until after the election.

"We have some senators—you know, oh forget it," he said. “I won't say it. Susan. I won't say it. Susan.”

Trump’s comments capitalizing on the court vacancy indicate that the issue will be a central part of his campaign messaging in the final weeks of the 2020 race, with early voting already under way and election day just 44 days away.

Allies of the president told Politico that “they hoped he would shift his focus from the coronavirus outbreak to the Supreme Court to invigorate Republicans by showing them what’s at stake in the election.”

The vacancy is also serving as a money-raising tactic for the president’s campaign, which on Saturday texted supporters with a solicitation that read: “Pres. Trump will fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a conservative justice. 800%-MATCH live to Make America Great Again! Claim your match NOW.”

Democrats, too, appear to be galvanized by the upcoming court battle, pouring record sums into Democratic Senate campaigns and causes in the wake of Ginsburg’s death and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vow shortly after to replace her.

According to the New York Times, party donors gave about $80 million online in the first 24 hours following her death, and millions more continue to come in.

The Democratic digital fundraising platform ActBlue said donors set a new one-day record on Saturday, raising $70.6 million, per Politico, and topped $100 million by Sunday morning.

Among the groups reporting big numbers is Crooked Media’s “Get Mitch or Die Trying” fund, which raised over $12 million between Friday night and Saturday afternoon via ActBlue; by Sunday afternoon, donations were approaching the group’s $20 million goal. Before this weekend’s fundraising surge, the group, which has been raising money to elect Senate Democrats and oust McConnell for over a year, had raised $3.5 million.

Meanwhile, Biden is reportedly using the confirmation battle to focus on the country’s health care crisis and protecting the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration remains committed to kill, mostly recently asking the Supreme Court to overturn it in June.

Biden campaign aides told the Times that they plan to link the vacancy to the future of the health care law and its coverage of people with pre-existing conditions, which the death of Ginsburg—one of the liberal justices who had previously voted to protect it—has imperiled.

Yet campaign officials, according to the Times, “said on Saturday that they did not see even a Supreme Court vacancy and the passions it will inevitably inflame as reason to fundamentally reorient the campaign’s approach,” with former Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp noting that using the vacancy to focus on health care is not a new talking point for Biden and his commitment to upholding Obamacare.

“The pandemic is about health care. So it’s a continuing of a discussion about health care and who’s the candidate most likely to protect you and your health care.”

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