Democrats Think the Rules Don’t Apply to Them

News & Politics

In light of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) recent freeze spell, which is only the latest in a series of incidents that have raised legitimate questions about his health, there’s renewed talk about a potential vacancy in the Senate.

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a particularly big deal. McConnell hails from the red state of Kentucky. The problem is that in the event of a vacancy, the governor has the power to install a replacement, and, for the moment, Kentucky has a Democrat governor.

In 2019, Kentucky elected a Democrat as governor. It wasn’t a sign that Kentucky was turning blue; it stemmed from the fact that the incumbent Republican governor was the second-most unpopular governor in the nation at the time, and Kentucky voters, who elected Republicans to other high-level offices by mostly double digits, narrowly gave Democrat Andy Beshear a victory. And by narrow, I mean a margin of victory of roughly 5,000 votes.

As questions arose about McConnell, the Kentucky legislature took action and, in 2021, passed SB 228, which would limit Beshear’s power to select a replacement by requiring him to choose one of three candidates recommended by leaders of the same political party as the outgoing senator. Beshear had vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode his veto. So Beshear is now bound by law to choose a Republican to replace McConnell with another Republican.

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Oh, but in case you missed the memo, Democrats don’t think rules apply to them, and Beshear is reportedly refusing to commit to appointing a Republican to replace McConnell in the event of a vacancy.

RelatedKentucky’s Democratic Governor Won’t Commit to Naming a Republican If Sen. McConnell Retires

Consider this for a moment. Kentucky state law now dictates that Beshear must appoint a Republican. Let’s go back to 2004, when Mitt Romney, a Republican, was governor of the blue state of Massachusetts. At the time, then-senator John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president, and Massachusetts law dictated that the governor had the power to fill a potential vacancy left by John Kerry had he won the election — a change that was later reversed when a Democrat held the governor’s seat.

Naturally, the veto-proof Democratic majority in the state legislature changed the laws to prevent that from happening by establishing that the vacancy would be filled by a special election to be held within 145-160 days of a vacancy, making it more likely that a Democrat would fill the seat. Imagine, for a second, if Romney had said, “Forget the law, I’m going to appoint a replacement.” That wouldn’t fly, now would it?

Would Beshear actually attempt to appoint a Democrat to fill a potential vacancy left by McConnell?

According to a recent story from Newsweek, Beshear could attempt to appoint a Democrat in order to trigger a lawsuit and potentially get the law restricting Beshear’s power overturned by a court. Would he do that?  Do you have any reason to believe he wouldn’t?

Beshear is a leftist who pretends to be a moderate, and he routinely vetoes legislation from the Republican-controlled legislature. The legislature typically overrides those vetoes. He doesn’t seem to care at all about representing his constituents. This effort may not succeed at keeping the seat out of Republican hands, but it could leave the seat vacant for a period of time in a closely divided Senate.

Democrats started the trend of changing state laws on filling vacancies, and when they saw it used against them, they simply decided that they just didn’t have to follow the rules.

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