It's been clear all year that Mitch McConnell's and the Senate Republicans' top priority is stacking the federal judiciary with wing-nuts, because they've directed all of their efforts at shutting down Democratic opposition to Trump judicial nominees. Democrats have only been able to turn back a few of those nominees. On the executive branch side, however, Democrats have been busy protecting the government from more kleptocrats.
About 100 of President Donald Trump's nominees have been kicked back to the White House, prolonging an unusually high number of vacancies across his administration and escalating the Senate's long-running nomination wars.
While the Senate agreed to keep roughly 150 of Trump's picks for consideration next year, it refused to do so on roughly 100 others, according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office. That means the White House will have to re-nominate them if Trump wants them installed.
Among the high-profile picks tossed back to the White House: Alex Azar, chosen as the new head of Health and Human Services; Thomas Farr, a district court nominee whose record on voting rights has infuriated Democrats; and KT McFarland, the former deputy national security adviser chosen as U.S. ambassador to Singapore who is now facing questions about her communications with ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. […]
In an interview earlier this week, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said he would look for obstacles to oppose nominees with "egregious conflicts of interest," an "appalling lack of knowledge about the job," or "who are inclined to destroy the very agencies that they're assigned to support the mission of."
Which is pretty much every Trump nominee, making this a real victory for Democrats. With a normal president, a normal Senate would have made unanimous consent agreements to allow nominations to carry over into the new year. Nothing is normal anymore, so that didn't happen. That means that plenty of these horrible nominees will give up. They will have to fill out all the paperwork again, continue to pay the lawyers they hired to help walk them through the process, only to face ongoing opposition and delays from the Democrats intent on saving our government from Trump.
While it's been frustrating to watch Senate Democrats refuse to shut the whole thing down, they have been resisting in quieter ways and deserve credit for that. At least they're slowing the pace of the government's destruction down where they can.