WaPo Report: The White House is vetting Republican Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as a potential Supreme Court nominee.
I want to lay out the political chess game here, but first let me say: with both Pablo and Brian Sandoval in the news these days, please be on the lookout for fun Sandoval headlines.
Anyway, here’s what I assume is happening. White House leaks Sandoval for SCOTUS. Media will rush to every Republican Senator who has said they won’t even consider a SCOTUS nominee this year, and ask if they would consider Sandoval.
If some of them say yes they would, then they expose themselves as blocking the nomination not out of principle regarding the lame-duck President, but because they will only consider a Republican nominee. That ramps up the political pressure, just as Obama announces his real nominee.
If (more likely), the Republican Senators are smart enough to see through this, they will all say no, I would not consider Sandoval, because it’s the principle of the thing. Democrats will then use this as proof that Republicans are so impossible to work with they won’t even consider the most compromise-type nominee. Then, after Obama announces his real nominee, any criticism about that person’s liberalism or other faults can be dismissed — because obviously the Republicans have already shown that they had decided not to consider any nominee regardless of their views.
Oh, plus the move probably plays to the Democrat’s advantage, and against the Republicans, among moderate Republicans and Hispanics in Sandoval’s home state of Nevada, where he’s extremely popular, and which is not only a key Presidential swing state but also has an open and highly contested US Senate race this year.
Not a bad play, politically.