Gorsuch confirmed...this is not exactly breaking news, is it? In fact, he's getting sworn in today at the White House. But, I saw this over at Polination, and the numbers struck me.
A) “Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitcamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV)”Fifty-one would have been a bare majority. Gorsuch passed with three to spare. Three Democrats voted to confirm...Hmm. A bandwagon, perhaps??
Q) Name three Democrats up for reelection, in states that voted heavily for Trump.
One of the dirty little secrets of politics, is the ability of Congress Critters to cast a vote in such a manner so as to bamboozle, to use our former president's favorite word, one's constituents in order to deceive them, as you fleece them of their votes. First, is there any one among us who believes that if the vote were say, forty nine to forty nine that any of these three would have cast a deciding vote to put a conservative on the Supreme Court and risk the wrath of their party to do so? I don't think so.
Each party in the Senate and House have a Majority and Minority "Whip". The whip is responsible for counting votes and making sure that the party faithful follow the party line, or face the consequences. With just one exception, that is, hot button issues in an election year. We've seen this in the past.
Let's say there's a gun control law about to be voted on, and Democrats have more than enough votes to pass it. Any Democrats up for reelection in districts where a majority might be opposed to the measure, can beg permission to vote against the party line...so long as it doesn't affect the final vote. That way, that member of Congress can put in their campaign literature how they voted against the law (which they may have secretly favored), that their constituents disliked, giving the poor rubes in the district the impression that their representative is voting in their best interests.
This, of course, is one reason you want to stay on the Party's good side. There may be more people up for reelection in tight districts than there are votes to spare, which could affect your ability to follow your most deeply held belief: getting yourself reelected!
If I had to guess, I'd say this was how Harry Reid, a consummate liberal, was able to maintain a high NRA rating in Nevada, a state with many gun owners and sportsmen. I'd wager that Reid cast more than a few dissenting votes on gun control laws that were going to pass anyway. If the vote was close, good Democrats would not be "vote their conscience", but support the party line.
So, forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical of the votes of Donnelly, Heitcamp and Manchin. If the vote had been 51-48, I'm pretty sure that one or more of these three would have voted in lockstep with Chuck Schumer. As it was, the party gave them a pass so that their opponents could not use their vote against Gorsuch as a petard on which to hoist them, in the next campaign.