“The stakes are as high as possible” in President Trump’s rush to install a Supreme Court justice, but “Republicans probably do have the votes to do this,” Chris Hayes conceded on MSNBC Tuesday night. “There is no magic trick, right? No procedural thing you can do as Democrats to stop them. I mean, you can delay, you can make it difficult, and obviously they should do that,” but “what is the plan? Because if they are willing to pay any price for this seat, because it is so valuable to them, then the only option left is to make the price as high as possible. And that means you focus on what Donald Trump’s nominee on the court could mean.”

Democrats need to make the loss of health care for tens of millions of Americans, the squelching of “reproductive freedom,” and the judicial assault on clean air and water and climate legislation “stick to the Republicans who are responsible for putting that person on the court,” especially the vulnerable incumbents facing tough re-election battles, Hayes argued. “What you do not do — and I strongly believe this — is focus on the actual nominee.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made the “very deft call” in 2016 to focus not on Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee, but on the principle that “we can stop this and we will,” Hayes said. “Democrats don’t have the power right now to stop it, but they should take the same approach: It is not about the actual nominee, it is about what Donald Trump and his party are trying to do to the country through the appointment. So boycott the hearings, boycott the process, the same way Republicans did with Merrick Garland. … You’re not going to convince these Republicans to change their minds, so all you can do is make them pay.” Watch his argument below.

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