Democrats’ Fill-in-the-Blank Protest Against Neil Gorsuch

Protest sign oppose Gorsuch (Drew Angerer / Getty)
Drew Angerer / Getty

Democrats opposed to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination gathered Tuesday evening in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to register their opposition. The problem: they did not know whom he would choose.

No matter: pre-printed, fill-in-the-blank signs were distributed: “OPPOSE _______.” Markers would suffice to fill in the name. They did not need to know anything about Judge Neil Gorsuch. They just knew to oppose anyone Trump chose.

Such is the nature of politics in the post-Obama era. For Democrats still unsure how to respond to their party’s losses in November, opposition-for-opposition’s sake is both a political principle and a tactic to keep depressed activists involved.

There was, in theory, a principled basis for opposing Judge Fill-in-the-Blank. Former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz articulated it — as perhaps only he can — on Wednesday morning in an interview with Fox Business Network. He made the point that Gorsuch certainly had the qualifications for the job, and that opposition to him on the basis of his views would likely fail, but that the one tactic that had any chance of success was to oppose him in protest at the way Republicans blocked the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland, who was President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died nearly a year ago. (Republicans cited Democrats’ own precedent in doing so, invoking the “Biden rule.”)

Still, the fill-in-the-blank opposition to Gorsuch also highlighted a key weakness in Democrats’ opposition strategy: they are so busy opposing the Trump administration that they have no idea what they stand for anymore. And the demonstrators who simply show up to attack whatever they are told to hate risk alienating the voters who crossed over to Trump last November.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.