The Monday Morning Teaser

This week I mostly look away from the presidential race and turn to the Senate and the courts. The huge Republican Senate class of 2010 is up for re-election, so there are lots of opportunities for Democrats to flip the four (if they keep the White House) or five (if they don’t) seats they need to gain control.

For me personally, the one to focus on is obvious, since my local race in New Hampshire is considered a toss-up, the Democratic candidate (Maggie Hassan) has been a good governor, and the Republican incumbent (Kelly Ayotte) is supporting Mitch McConnell’s refusal to grant Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland the fair hearing every other nominee has gotten.

But what if you’re not in one of the five toss-up states where Senate control is likely to be decided? Or you are, but your local candidate doesn’t give you the kind of feeling you want from a politician that you go all-out for?

Well, the Koch brothers aren’t sitting out the Senate races just because their guy in Kansas looks safe, and you shouldn’t either. You may not have millions to sprinkle all over the country, but your money travels as well as theirs does, and in this era of cheap long-distance, you can phone bank for anybody.

One of this week’s featured articles “What Can You Do About the Senate?” takes you through the races that will decide whether Mitch McConnell keeps his veto power over the next Supreme Court justice, and makes suggestions for who you might help, depending on what you want to accomplish.

That link between the legislative and judicial branches is the theme of this week’s other featured post, “The Broken Senate is Breaking the Courts”. Merrick Garland is not a unique example. The Republican Senate is refusing to process the Democratic president’s nominees at all judicial levels, creating a long-term threat to the rule of law. That problem sounds abstract, but it could easily show up in your life.

The broken Senate article is pretty much done and should be out momentarily. The what-to-do article still needs some work, so let’s picture it coming out around 10 EDT. The weekly summary — where I will end up saying a few things about the presidential race, as well as Mississippi’s new entry in the very competitive most-bigoted-state contest — should follow by noon.

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