The Patriot Post® · Supreme Chaos

By Gary Bauer ·

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia is creating chaos on Capitol Hill. [Yesterday’s] Washington Post reports, “Senate Republicans clashed Wednesday over how to battle President Obama’s expected Supreme Court nomination.” In addition, the White House is refusing to rule out a recess appointment.

If Obama makes a recess appointment, the Republican leadership will have no one to blame but itself. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, backed up by a unanimous Supreme Court decision, has full authority to decide when or if the Senate goes into recess.

By the way, Senate Democrats once went on the record in opposition to recess appointments of Supreme Court justices.

Here’s something to encourage the nervous Nellies in the Senate: The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Americans were evenly divided over whether the Senate should vote this year on an Obama Supreme Court nominee — 43% said yes, while 42% said no. Clearly, the country is not clamoring for a third Obama justice.

Poll Position: The Democrats

The 2016 presidential campaign diverges this weekend with Democrats holding caucuses in Nevada while Republicans have a primary in South Carolina. In both cases, the race is wide open. I’ll start with the Democrats.

After an extremely close win in Iowa, Hillary Clinton got trounced in New Hampshire. Her campaign and its media allies dismissed the results for a variety of reasons — lack of diversity, familiarity with Sanders, etc. The Clinton campaign assured everyone that she would perform better in states — like Nevada — with larger minority populations.

At the beginning of the year, Clinton enjoyed a 23-point lead over Bernie Sanders in Nevada. But two polls conducted this month find many Nevada Democrats are now “feeling the Bern” — the race has turned into a dead heat.

In fact, it is so scrambled that the big labor bosses at the AFL-CIO, who were expected to endorse Hillary Clinton next week, announced [Wednesday] that they were canceling the vote and would “refrain from endorsing any candidate at this moment.”

Poll Position: The Republicans

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll stunned pundits with its extraordinary findings — Texas Senator Ted Cruz has overtaken Donald Trump in the GOP primary. Here are the results:

Cruz 28%
Trump 26%

Rubio 17%
Kasich 11%
Carson 10%
Bush 4%

To be fair, no other national poll shows Cruz ahead of Trump so this one could remain an “outlier.”

What about Saturday’s vote in South Carolina? Polls in the Palmetto State have consistently shown Donald Trump with a large lead. But there is a trend emerging — his numbers are falling. One poll conducted two weeks ago had Trump leading by 22 points. A new Fox News poll finds Trump leading by 13 points.

The Fox and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls were conducted after last Saturday’s debate, and could reflect a shift in voter attitudes after what many pundits have called Trump’s worst performance.

If he wins South Carolina by eight points or less, the second place finisher will claim a moral victory. Meanwhile, the real battle is for third place. There will be pressure on the lower-tier finishers to drop out so the field can coalesce around an alternative to Trump.

And on that point, the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey has some interesting findings. In a two-man race, Cruz would beat Trump 56% to 40%, and Marco Rubio would beat Trump 57% to 41%. But Trump would beat Jeb Bush 54% to 43%, and he would defeat John Kasich 52% to 44%.