The Sandoval Ploy

WaPo Report: The White House is vetting Republican Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as a potential Supreme Court nominee.
Brian_Sandoval_2010Red Sox  at Orioles 04/24/15

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.

6 thoughts on “The Sandoval Ploy

  1. Andrew Long

    I do like the move as you describe it, but they do have one clear rationale to oppose him: he’s pro-choice. And given that all the Republican candidates have essentially endorsed an “overturn Roe” litmus test, it’s clear from the start that the Senate majority could never confirm him. And the current campaign gives them the leeway for at least one committee member to basically come out and say that, defusing the potential damage you posit. But doing that would also bring into sharp relief their obstructionist intention to *never again* confirm any nominee from a Democratic president. That inflexible reality is the true danger to their ability to retain a majority.

  2. Violet

    I just hope you are right and it’s a ploy, because actually nominating an anti-labor, pro-gun Republican who would not uphold voting rights and would uphold Citizens United would undo any decent legacy Obama had. I was already mourning his leaving office, but if this nomination is for real, I’m done with him.

  3. Dan

    If correct, you could also add that this would allow President Clinton, when putting up her liberal nominee next year, to note that since the GOP wouldn’t even consider a Republican she felt no need to choose an overly centrist candidate.

  4. Robert J Bonsignore

    He may have pluses but what he did in revoking solar energy advantages is corrupt, it benefits Warren Buffett a few shortsighted union officials and screws consumers while harming the environment and worse. No one who can be bought belongs on the Supreme Court.

    1. Robert Atkinson

      Thanks for bringing up that solar energy debacle currently consuming a lot of energy in Nevada. Sandoval is a corporatist in the same way that Roberts is and we most certainly don’t need another one of those on the Court. When your policies are so onerous that you are being attacked by major libertarian as well as environmental groups you are in trouble.


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