As former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told The New York Times, “This is a choice between a court that will defend your health care and take your health care away.”
That’s an easy message for Biden and other Democrats to work with. With attention newly focused on the Supreme Court, people who had no idea that Donald Trump was backing an effort to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act may find out about that. In the middle of a pandemic.
Health care was a powerful message for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, and Biden has continued that focus, emphasizing things like the preexisting conditions protections that California v. Texas threatens, along with his plans to build on the ACA. The focus on preexisting conditions comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is leaving millions of people with a new preexisting condition from a virus that can strike so many parts of the body in so many ways. Democrats have wanted the public to understand this Supreme Court threat, and Trump’s support for it.
Abortion rights could also take on new saliency for people who lean Democratic but don’t necessarily vote on that issue every year … or even vote at all. “If you want something to fire up young people who weren’t all that interested this year, this is it,” according to one of Biden’s pollsters.
With even half of Republicans thinking that the Supreme Court vacancy should be filled by whoever wins in November, it’s unlikely that Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can whip up much new fervor—Republicans who are likely to vote on this issue probably already were, and the push to ram through a replacement for Ginsburg is unlikely to play well with independents. Along with firing up young people.
But the thing is, if Biden wins but Trump and McConnell prevail on this, Biden needs to be ready to do something about it.