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So here is an idea that could fit exactly the definition of “too clever by half.” Suppose that Donald Trump – in cementing his well-deserved reputation as the master uniter – says to the American people that President Obama nominated Merrick Garland before he, Trump, had a chance to nominate Neil Gorsuch. As a consequence and with an excess of deference to precedence and democracy, he was instructing the Senate to give Merrick Garland a hearing and, if reported favorably out of committee, a vote on the Senate floor.
What would happen? I would have to guess that the Democrats would run themselves ragged and, after it was all over, Garland would be turned down on a strict majority vote. After that, Trump nominates Gorsuch and, voila, he either gets a strict majority vote or else he gets filibustered, in which case McConnell goes nuclear and the American people say: