You NEVER waste political capital by going to the mattresses for a Secretary of Education nominee. It’s a throwaway position that you use to mollify minorities or women. Like HUD or Transportation.
I don’t care how much money she gave you for the position. Forcing your members to vote against the wishes of the American people over something that isn’t part of your core party beliefs is insane. And counterproductive.
I’m suggesting a different tact. Not only give the Democrats DeVos but join them in voting against her. Republicans know that she has no business anywhere near a cabinet position and that putting her in charge of Education is like making Cruella DeVille President of the Humane Society. Admit it. Tell President Trump you’re voting against her. Give him an opportunity to get on board. If he chooses not to then explain to the American people that you are willing to go against the President when it comes to following their wishes and protecting their children. Because you love America just…that…much.
Cue sappy music and video of waving grains
Now that you have gained capital (instead of spending it) look to the bigger fight. The DeVos forfeiture sets you up to win the big game: SCOTUS.
Giving the Democrats DeVos gives the Republicans a better chance of Gorsuch without having to go nuclear. Without DeVos’ scalp, Democrats are going to feel like they need to prove they aren’t the pushovers they obviously are. They will go to the wall to stop Gorsuch because they must. They have to do everything they can to cover their impotence with Garland.
McConnell can read the future. There will be a Democrat in the White House in 2020. There will almost definitely be a Democratic Senate in 2020. There is even a not insignificant chance of a Democratic House in 2020. The chances that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will voluntarily leave her seat before then? Zero. The President in 2020 will most likely have 2 SCOTUS seats to fill. If McConnell goes nuclear now, he will have no leverage when it comes time to fill those seats. The Democrats will waltz them through with a plain majority. If McConnell doesn’t go nuclear, the Republicans will have the filibuster to use as a tool to influence SCOTUS.
Nobody wants the nuclear option. This is definitely worth one rich old lady’s scalp.