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Progressive activists are demanding that Democrats do everything in their power to stop President Trump from putting another conservative on the Supreme Court.

When Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., suggested he might stop short of filibustering Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch, the response from liberal groups was swift and firm.

“There is zero appetite among the public for weakness from Democratic politicians,” said Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Stephanie Taylor.

“Especially after Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat, Coons and all Senate Democrats should join Sen. Jeff Merkley’s filibuster of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Gorsuch. That’s the kind of backbone the public needs to see right now.”

In case the point was missed, the group sent out an email to supporters urging them to call Coons. “Tell him that Democrats are counting on him to FIGHT WITH BACKBONE,” the message read (emphasis in the original).

CREDO Action issued a blistering statement that opened with the suggestion that virtually anyone the president nominated would have been worthy of Democratic opposition, saying it was issued “in response to Donald Trump’s nomination of [insert anti-women, anti-worker, anti-environment white male here] to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“Democrats cannot allow the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice picked by a racist, fascist, sexual predator who lost the majority vote by almost 3 million votes,” the group’s political director Murshed Zaheed said.

“The progressive base of the Democratic Party wants Democrats to fight Trump’s fascist regime, not enable it,” Zaheed added.

“There is no room for collaboration with a thin-skinned, tantrum-prone tyrant who, in just the first few days of his administration, has already displayed a reckless disregard for the rule of law and shown he is willing to undermine our Constitution.”

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Many of these groups and activists threatened Democratic senators who didn’t do their part with future primary challenges.

“Senate Dems, let’s be very clear,” tweeted liberal filmmaker Michael Moore. “You will filibuster & block this SC nom or will we find a true progressive and primary u in next election.”

Many progressives want to see Democrats become part of the “resistance” against Trump, obstructing and opposing him wherever possible.

Their efforts are patterned partly on the Tea Party’s pressure to get Republicans to fight President Obama and partly on the unsuccessful liberal campaigns against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

But liberals are also angry that Senate Republicans denied a hearing or vote to Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. Garland would have given the liberal bloc control of the court. Now Republicans have the opportunity to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia with another conservative.

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“The Democrats should treat Trump’s SCOTUS pick with the exact same courtesy the GOP showed Merrick Garland,” tweeted former Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer. “Don’t flinch, don’t back down.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., quickly became the leader of this effort in Congress.

“The most fundamental thing that must be understood about tonight’s announcement is that this is a stolen seat,” he said when Gorsuch was nominated. Merkley called for a Democratic filibuster.

“This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court,” he added.

A filibuster would require 60 votes to end debate and vote on the nomination. Republicans control 52 seats to the Democrats’ 48.

Nevertheless, some Democrats are reluctant to go down this road. It is possible Republicans would change the rules to allow future Supreme Court nominees through by majority vote. This would leave Senate Democrats powerless to stop Trump if he got to replace a more liberal justice and change the balance of power on the court, unless they have retaken the majority by then.

Judging from the reaction Democrats like Coons have elicited, this is going to be a losing argument with the progressive base.

“But I’m not going to do to President Trump’s nominee what the Republicans in the Senate did to President Obama’s,” Coons, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told CNN. “I will push for a hearing and I will push for a vote.”

Thousands have poured into the streets to protest Trump’s immigration order and other policies. Even before Trump, Supreme Court nomination fights had become increasingly contentious over the past thirty years, since Democrats defeated President Reagan’s nomination of Judge Robert Bork.

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