Voters always value electability in presidential contests. But the consideration has assumed unusually tangible implications following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans are vowing to deny President Obama’s pick to succeed Scalia, saying it should be up to the next president, and by extension, the voters, to determine the future of the high court.
That has raised the stakes for Democrats and Republicans in November, and magnified the Supreme Court as a voting issue. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his conference don’t waiver, Obama’s successor will select the next Supreme Court justice, and break a 4-4 ideological, conservative-liberal tie that now exists on the nine-member panel.
"It makes winning essential," Republican consultant Josh Holmes said. "Whether they want to or not, voters are adding electability into their calculus here at a much higher level as a result of this vacancy. I can’t imagine a movement or a party more motivated to win a general election than conservatives and Republicans are right now."