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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

We spoke to a well-wired Democratic operative this afternoon to get insight into how party leaders are viewing the coming fight against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Our source, who has close ties to Senate Democrats, makes three key points:

  1. "Yes we are catering to the base," our source says. But that's a good thing. "We've been trying to get them riled up for years." Our source says many Democrats — and this includes establishment types — are thrilled to see an "organic uprising" from progressives who are furious at Trump and finally demonstrating like the Tea Party did in the early days of the Obama presidency.
  2. Democrats have learnt a key lesson from Republicans: you can be obstructionist with the highest court and get away with it electorally. The idea that voters will punish Democrats for being obstructionist is "a Washington D.C. argument" that doesn't bear out in reality. Many Democrats thought voters would punish Republicans for obstructing Obama's SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland. That didn't happen.
  3. "The idea that we're going to save the fight for the next guy is ludicrous," our source says. "Why not have the fight twice?" Our source points out that Gorsuch is 49 years old and "could be on the court for 40 years." He could ultimately tip the court on issues ranging from campaign finance to abortion rights and gay rights. The upshot: This is a fight worth having.

Our thought bubble: Democrats are going to lose this battle. With their activist base supporting them, they can force Republicans to get 60 votes on Gorsuch ("That's a high but fair bar," one leadership source said), but they'll either lose 8 vulnerable Senators to the GOP side or force McConnell to nuke the Senate and push Gorsuch ahead with just a majority. So in that case, there are many Democrats, — and not just on the Bernie flank — who think they've got little to lose politically by picking a fight.

Go deeper

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on how to view threats that climate change poses to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.

Updated 56 mins ago - World

Police charge man with murder of British MP David Amess

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Police said Thursday that Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British man, has been charged with the murder of David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K.

The big picture: Last week, the Metropolitan Police declared the fatal stabbing a terrorist incident, saying that they had found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."