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But if you look very closely at a different scene showing future McFly as he video-conferences a co-worker in 2015, another brand makes a cameo appearance.

That drink was called Pocari Sweat. And despite its name — unappetizing to native English speakers — it’s a well-known Japanese sports drink across Asia and the Middle East.

Though the film’s creators didn’t have a product placement deal with Pocari Sweat, they had given their art department a general directive to include Japanese elements in the scenes depicting 2015, says Bob Gale, the producer and writer of “Back to the Future II.”

The Japanese powerhouse of the ’80s didn’t last, but Pocari went on to become a force in the sports beverage market.

Last year, 270 million bottles were distributed across more than 20 countries and regions. Around the same number were distributed in Japan, according to Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the Japanese company that makes it. Amid the pandemic, the company donated more than 1.2 million bottles to hospitals and governments across its markets.

Launched in 1980, Pocari Sweat was inspired by the rehydrating effects of an IV solution. The ingredients include water, sugar, citric acid, magnesium, calcium and sodium. Pocari replenishes water and electrolytes — a set of minerals your body needs to function — lost through sweat.

The beverage is to many Asians what Gatorade is to Americans, and Lucozade is to the British.

But, the brand, which turns 40 this year, is virtually unheard of in the West.

A drink that mimics sweat

  • Four Pocari Sweat facts

  • 1980

    Pocari Sweat is launched in Japan.

  • 1982

    Otsuka starts exporting Pocari Sweat to its first overseas markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

  • 1990s

    Pocari Sweat becomes the first non-alcoholic drink in Japan to hit a cumulative shipment value of over $1 billion.

  • 2020

    Otsuka establishes a health beverage subsidiary in Mexico, the country that sparked the idea for Pocari Sweat.

Source: Otsuka Pharmaceutical

Pocari’s story starts with Rokuro Harima, an Otsuka employee who got food poisoning during a business trip to Mexico in the 1970s.

At hospital, doctors told Harima to replenish his energy with fizzy soda drinks. But when Harima spotted a doctor drinking from a pouch of IV solution to rehydrate himself after performing surgery, he had an idea.

Otsuka had also been producing IV solutions for hospitals since 1946. Harima put two and two together: He wanted to create a tasty, drinkable IV.

In the 1960s, he had helped fine-tune the flavor of Otsuka’s “Oronamin C,” a carbonated nutritional drink targeted at weary businessmen needing a midday pick-me-up. Now the “king of taste,” as his peers called him, had set his sights on creating a new market in Japan.

Gatorade had been sold in the US since the 1960s. But in Japan in the 1970s, sports drinks were uncharted territory.

Non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, such as Coca-Cola and Mitsuya Cider, and orange and apple juices dominated the domestic market, according to the Japan Soft Drink Association (JSDA).
But as Japanese white-collar workers powered Japan’s economic boom, households gained spending power. People became more health-conscious and Coke sales waned, according to Mark Pendergrast, the author of “God, Country and Coca-Cola.” Harima got to work.

Back in the laboratory, he and a team of researchers had discovered that the concentration of sweat was different for people doing sport compared to those just going about their day. They wanted a drink — with properties similar to sweat — that could hydrate people whatever they were doing.

Researchers developed dozens of prototypes, but they all tasted too bitter. The breakthrough came when they added a dash of citrus powder juice to their translucent solution, eventually refining the formula to two samples with differing sugar levels.

Researchers put those solutions to the test by climbing a mountain in Tokushima prefecture in southern Japan, says Jeffrey Gilbert, a spokesman at Otsuka. They concluded that the less sugary version went better with exercise.

The formula for Pocari Sweat was born. All they needed was a name and a logo.

What’s in a name?

With its literal nod to perspiration, Pocari Sweat’s name has bemused many native English speakers. The first part of its name was chosen for its sound. “Pocari” comes off as vaguely European and is easy to pronounce but has no meaning, Gilbert says.

As Japan absorbed Western influences in the post-World War II years, European languages were seen as chic and exotic. English slogans adorned everything from billboards to T-shirts, lunch boxes and pencil cases.

The word “sweat,” on the other hand, conveys the drink’s practical purpose.

Back in the 1980s, most carbonated and soft drinks were sold in bold red, orange and white containers, according to the JSDA. Yet given the high turnover rate in the Japanese beverage market, Akihiko Otsuka — then president of Otsuka Pharmaceutical — knew he had to make a statement. Reminiscent of breaking ocean waves, Pocari’s cool blue and white cover was an outlier in terms of design.

It was a risk engineered to catch the eye of curious consumers.

Creating a new market

Pocari Sweat was not a smash hit when it landed in Japanese stores in 1980. “Because this drink category didn’t exist in Japan, people didn’t know what to make of it,” says Gilbert.

It didn’t have Coke’s dark coloring and signature sweet fizz. Nor was it like Suntory’s energy drink Regain, which appealed to businessmen prepared to work 24-hour shifts. Instead, Pocari Sweat promised to keep people hydrated.

Early marketing campaigns focused on the dangers of dehydration. Television commercials and posters targeted everyone from people with hangovers to sports enthusiasts.

For several years, the company handed out free samples at saunas and sporting events. Salespeople went door-to-door to promote it.

“Back then, Japan didn’t have as many supermarkets or vending machines as it does today. Shoppers bought drinks at mom and pop stores, so Otsuka made an effort to reach out to people and familiarize them with Pocari’s taste and function,” says Kiyomi Kai, a spokeswoman at the JSDA.

Despite the struggle to launch, Gilbert says giving up wasn’t an option. “Otsuka is very, very sticky and persistent in what it does on both the drug and consumer side — it goes in deep and stays there,” he says.

Eventually, its efforts paid off. In the mid-1990s, Pocari Sweat became Japan’s first domestically produced non-alcoholic drink to hit a cumulative shipment value of over $1 billion.

Sold primarily in hot countries across Asia and the Middle East, Gilbert says the hydrating message behind Pocari products — which now include powder and jelly — speak to those markets. Private vendors are selling the drink in Western nations, too.

But Otsuka never dreamed of dominating the West.

Looking to Asia

By 1983, Gatorade held 86.5% of the sports beverage market in the United States. In Otsuka’s eyes, Western markets were saturated, says Gilbert.
Otsuka had exported its IV solutions to Japan’s neighbors since the 1960s, so it made sense to ship them to locations near Japan rather than to send them via air freight to America. Besides, the company didn’t want to pay for expensive supermarket shelf space in the US.

Pocari Sweat was launched in Japan as the economy boomed. Otsuka predicted that the level of economic growth would spread across Asia.

By the 1980s, anti-WWII sentiments toward Japan, which had colonized many parts of Asia, had gradually waned in the region. Japan was now seen as a viable business partner.

The drink hit shelves in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1982 and in Singapore, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia the following year, along with a slew of other markets over the next decades.

The strategy of investing in Asian and Gulf markets for the long haul bore dividends.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the Asian economic zone — spanning the Arabian Peninsula to Australia — represented 50% of global GDP and two-thirds of global economic growth, according to Parag Khanna, the author of “The future is Asian.”

The region’s spending power was growing, and Pocari Sweat was well-placed to ride the wave.

Overcoming cultural hurdles

Otsuka saw huge potential in Indonesia, a country of 273 million people, which is now the company’s biggest market outside Japan. But Otsuka knew it had to rethink its marketing strategy for the predominantly Muslim nation.

For example, it didn’t make sense to advertise Pocari Sweat to Indonesians as a means to rehydrate after a bath or when they had a hangover, as they did in Japan and the Philippines.

In Indonesia, people take showers instead of baths. And, as Islam forbids alcohol, there’s no Indonesian word for “hangover,” says Yoshihiro Bando, the president director of Otsuka’s Indonesian branch, in a 2015 YouTube video.

Otsuka focused on carving out a niche in the healthcare and sporting community. But even then, the drink only took off after medics started using it as an emergency tonic.
In 2010, a dengue outbreak swept Indonesia. That year, the incidence rate spiked to over 80 people per 100,000 compared to 60 the year before.
Symptoms for dengue include vomiting, high fever and internal bleeding, in severe cases. Patients need to stay hydrated, as that allows platelets — tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding — to mature.
Spotting an opportunity in the market, Otsuka partnered with healthcare experts and government officials to promote Pocari Sweat’s hydrating powers. Healthcare workers started recommending it to their patients to prevent dehydration, according to researchers from Telkom University in Indonesia.
As a vital hydration booster, Pocari became known as a “form of first aid” — deployed in the fight against everything from dengue fever to diarrhea.

But it didn’t take long for Pocari’s image to shapeshift.

Pop culture meets ion supply

From 2016, running became a popular activity among Indonesians, according to Jakarta-based advertising agency Olrange. It partnered with Otsuka between 2015 and 2018 to produce a series of campaigns to expand Pocari Sweat’s appeal.

Along with sports campaigns dubbed #SafeRunning and Born to Sweat, Olrange leveraged Japan’s pop culture to attract younger consumers.

In 2018, Olrange launched a series of online videos — dubbed “the most kawaii (cute) web series in Indonesia” — featuring Haruka Nakagawa and Yukari Sasou, two Japanese Pocari Sweat ambassadors and celebrities popular in Indonesia.

It “captivated” Indonesian youngsters, says Stephanie Putri Fajar, an account director at Olrange.

“We gave them (Nakagawa and Sasou) a platform to portray the active life of the youth who lose ions (sweat) through a lighthearted six-part friendship and adventure series on YouTube called ‘Onigiri The Series,'” says Putri Fajar.

The videos shows the young friends sharing rice balls, going to school, hanging out and experiencing teenage life as peppy tunes play in the background.

That call to youngsters is driving Otsuka’s strategy as it fosters markets at home and abroad, according to Tomomi Fujikawa, an analyst at Euromonitor International.

Moonshot drink

Four decades ago, there were only five types of soft drinks — a category that JSDA says includes carbonated beverages as well as teas and mineral water — competing for space in Japan’s beverage market. But the category has expanded a lot since then.
In 2019 alone, there were 6,491 types of soft drinks on sale in Japan, and companies introduced 1,074 new products, according to the JSDA. All of them vie for coveted space in the nation’s convenience stores and roughly 5 million vending machines, says Kai, the JSDA spokeswoman.

In Japan, Pocari Sweat is stocked in convenience stores, vending machines, supermarkets and drug stores. While ubiquity helps, Otsuka has worked hard to make the brand relevant, says Roy Larke, a marketing professor at the Waikato University in New Zealand.

For instance, in 2020, Otsuka recruited virtual pop star Hatsune Miku as a brand ambassador ahead of the now-postponed Summer Olympics, to appeal to a new generation of young people.

A Pocari Sweat store in Hong Kong.

That cycle of refreshing Pocari Sweat but sticking by its signature blue-and-white look and message of hydration, has allowed the brand to outlast its competitors and thrive.

“Some brands are designed specifically for the convenience store market, so they have a three-to-six month lifespan for a particular recipe, but Pocari Sweat isn’t like that,” says Larke, who is also the editor of intelligence website JapanConsuming.

“It’s an enduring long-term brand that Otsuka has really developed over the last 50 years, and today it’s that endurance and long history in Japan that has kept it going.”

CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki contributed to this report from Tokyo.

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India Covid-19: Taj Mahal reopens after longest shutdown

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe Taj Mahal is located in the northern Indian city of Agra

The iconic Taj Mahal has reopened its doors to visitors after six months – the longest it has ever been shut.

It was closed as the country went into a stringent lockdown in March to halt the spread of coronavirus.

It will now allow only 5,000 visitors daily and enforce Covid-19 safety measures as cases spike in India.

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s leading tourist attractions, and drew as many as 70,000 people every day before the pandemic.

The 17th-Century marble mausoleum was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen, Mumtaz Mahal.

It was last shut briefly in 1978 when Agra city, where it is located, flooded. And before that, the monument closed for a few days in 1971, during a war between India and Pakistan.

Selfies allowed, but no ‘group photos’

The entire campus was sanitised before the doors opened at 8am and all officials were seen wearing masks and face shields, local journalist Yogesh Kumar Singh, who was at the monument when it opened, told the BBC.

Authorities said there would be temperature checks at the entrance, and visitors would be asked to use digital payment methods to buy tickets.

image copyrightYogesh Kumar Singh

image captionOfficials were seen wearing masks and face shields

They have also been told to follow social distancing on the property.

While visitors can take selfies or solo photographs, group photos are not allowed.

“But there is no rush, it feels so unlike Taj Mahal,” Mr Singh said. “I think many people will not turn up as long as cases continue to spike.”

India has reported more than five million cases so far, and Uttar Pradesh, where the Taj is located, has the country’s fifth-highest caseload.

  • Reality Check: Whose Taj Mahal is it anyway?

  • Trump to Diana: Iconic Taj Mahal photos through the years

Mr Kumar said it would be interesting to see how authorities enforce safety rules when large groups start visiting the site.

The Taj is surrounded by gardens where visitors spend a lot of time walking around and posing for photographs. But the mausoleum itself is a closed space, with almost no ventilation, making it vulnerable to Covid-19 transmission.

Typically, it is crowded as tourists move in and out of it in long lines.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe Taj Mahal has always attracted large crowds

A deserted look

Gautam Sharma, who drove from Delhi to visit the Taj Mahal on Monday, said he had been waiting for the day for months.

“I knew not many people will turn up initially, so I thought it will be safe to visit the monument in the first few days of reopening,” he said.

The monument had few visitors waiting at its doors as it opened Monday morning – an unusual sight in its long history.

image copyrightYogesh Kumar Singh
image captionThe entrance of the Taj usually has long queues

It is perhaps India’s most famous monument and is usually part of every foreign dignitary’s itinerary.

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania visited the Taj in February. Other world leaders who have visited the monument include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Thailand protests: Protesters declare ‘victory’ in Bangkok rallies calling for monarchy reform

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Thousands gathered in the nation’s capital for this weekend’s rallies, which began on Saturday and were part of a protest movement that has been gaining momentum since July.

Student leader and activist Panasaya “Rung” Sitthijirawattanakul, 21, took to a public stage late Saturday to directly address Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn — an act that, under strict national laws, could be punishable by 15 years in jail if her comments are considered defamatory to the monarchy.

Panasaya listed to the crowd the ten demands of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, a student union group of which she is the spokesperson. They include revoking laws against defaming the monarchy, a new constitution, abolishing royal offices, ousting the military junta and disbanding the king’s royal guards.

In an interview with CNN, Panasaya said: “I mean no harm to the monarchy.” But she also shared a message to the king: “You should reform it so that the monarchy can continue to exist in Thailand … If you pay attention to what I am saying, I’d like you to consider our demands.”

On Sunday, with thousands still out, a group from the rally announced it intended to deliver the ten demands to the Privy Council, the king’s advisers.

However, Panasaya and other marchers were stopped by police as they attempted to approach the council. In an exchange broadcast live on television, Panasaya instead agreed to hand the demands to police, and declared a victory for protesters.

Speaking to the crowds before they dispersed, protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak said: “Our victory is that we handed our letter directly to the king, so we can show that everyone is equal. Everyone has the same blood color — it’s red. Thank you everyone for celebrating our victory. We told people to raise their hand.”

Parit said the movement would continue to pursue its goals peacefully.

“We achieved all of this by non-violent methods and we will uphold the principle of non-violence in our movement,” Parit said Sunday.

On Sunday protesters also installed a “people’s plaque” near the Thai Royal Palace, commemorating their movement as the “vanguard of democracy.”

“Here, the people declare that this place belongs to the people, not the King,” the plaque reads. Protest leaders said it was a replacement for another plaque that had marked the end of monarchic rule in 1932, but went missing in 2017.

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Sunday “expressed his gratitude to officers and all the people who have jointly cooperated to end the situation peacefully,” according to a statement from his official spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri.

“Both the protesters and officers have avoided confrontation and instigation which could lead to an unnecessarily tense situation,” the statement read.

“The government has the intention to allow people to lawfully express their rights under the constitution.”

Asked about the submission of a reform letter to the king, Burapachaisri said: “I am aware of their demands about monarchy reform from listening to their speeches on the stage but I don’t have them in detail yet. I would need time to gather info before we have further comments on this.”

Weekend protests escalate

Ahead of this weekend, official figures had tried to dissuade protesters from turning out — and dispel fears that the rallies could turn violent.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister warned protesters they could cause economic destruction if coronavirus spreads at gatherings, though he didn’t name protest groups individually or specifically address the planned weekend rallies.

And in a briefing on Saturday morning, the commander of the Thai Royal Police told people not to believe what he called rumors that police will “suppress the mobs,” and urged officers not to react if “provoked.”

Thailand's monarchy was long considered God-like. But protesters say it's time for change

Later that afternoon, protest leaders pushed open the gates of Thammasat University, a heart of student activism in Thailand. They gathered on the campus and at Sanam Luang, a public square near the king’s official residence at the Grand Palace.

This comes after two months of almost daily demonstrations, including one in Bangkok with an estimated 10,000 people on August 16. The movement began with students in towns across the country — but has since attracted a large cross-section of society.

Protesters and their supporters are calling for a range of institutional changes; for instance, Pita Limjaroenrat of the opposition Move Forward Party said his group will propose a council meeting to “re-write the constitution peacefully.”

Anti-government protesters break through a gate at Thammasat University as they arrive for a pro-democracy rally in Bangkok on September 19.

The best solution, Limjaroenrat says, is to elect a “group of persons” to re-write it. He told the media that if change does not occur in the country “the people will keep coming out on the street.”

But among these grievances, reforming the monarchy is becoming the central demand. At a previous protest on August 10, Panusaya read out a series of demands for palace reform, that include ensuring a genuine constitutional monarchy that places the monarch under the constitution.

That is a radical idea in Thailand, where the powerful royal institution is regarded by many with deity-like reverence — but dissatisfaction, especially among Thai youth, has been simmering for years.

Years of growing resistance

Thailand has endured years of political upheaval. A military coup in 2014 was followed by failed promises to restore democracy, and what activists say is a repression of civil rights and freedoms.

Activists say they are fed up with injustices such as the military’s continued hold on power through the constitution, the prolonged coronavirus state of emergency — which they say is being used to stifle political opposition and free speech — and a flailing economy that offers them little job prospects, as well as the disappearance of democracy activists living in exile.

It’s within this atmosphere that their ire is now being directed toward King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who assumed the throne in 2016 and was crowned in May 2019.

Security forces stand guard as anti-government protesters take part in a rally in Bangkok on September 19.

Vajiralongkorn is believed to spend much of his time overseas and has been largely absent from public life in Thailand as the country grappled with the coronavirus pandemic.

Since becoming King, billions of dollars worth of assets held by the Thai Crown have been transferred to Vajiralongkorn, asserting his control of royal finances and vastly increasing his personal wealth.

The Crown Property Act, passed in 1936, reorganized the Thai royal family’s assets into separate categorizes for royal assets. The repeal of the act meant that the Crown’s and the King’s personal holdings were placed into a single category to be administered by King Vajiralongkorn.

Although the absolute monarchy was abolished in Thailand in 1932, the monarch still wields significant political influence. Thais are still expected to follow a long tradition of worshiping the royal institution.

Anti-government protesters in Bangkok on September 19.

Change appears to taking root, however.

At schools in Bangkok and southern Thailand last month video posted to social media showed students singing the national anthem while wearing white ribbons and making the three-fingered salute from the “Hunger Games” movie franchise, which has become a symbol of defiance against the Thai government since the military coup.

CNN cannot independently verify the videos.

Traditionally, Thai citizens are supposed to stand still to pay respects to the anthem — played twice daily in public spaces — and the rule is even stricter in schools.

“The protests in Thailand are historic because this is the first time in Thailand’s history that urban demonstrators have demanded such reforms,” Paul Chambers, a lecturer and special adviser at Naresuan University’s Center of ASEAN Community Studies, told CNN last month.

CNN’s Jaide Garcia and Emma Reynolds contributed to this report.

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McConnell locks down key Republican votes for Supreme Court fight

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Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, said on Sunday that Trump had already narrowed his list and was “prepared to make a nomination very soon.” Trump is expected to announce a nominee later this week, and has said he will choose a woman.

“It’s certainly possible” a nominee could be confirmed before Election Day, Short told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “But I think that the president’s obligation is to make the nomination. We’ll leave the timetable to Leader McConnell.”

Democrats have mounted an intense pressure campaign amid McConnell’s stated intention to fill the vacancy immediately, noting that Senate Republicans blocked Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia in 2016, Merrick Garland, from being considered. At the time, Republicans said it was too close to an election for a Senate and White House controlled by different parties to process a Supreme Court nomination.

At a press conference, Schumer reiterated that if the Republicans fill the seat and Democrats take back the majority in November “everything is on the table.” The New York Democrat also described the potential selection of Amy Coney Barrett, a frontrunner for the vacancy, as someone who “stands for all the things Ruth Bader Ginsburg was against,” adding “someone of that philosophy does not belong on the court.”

On Sunday afternoon, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, appealed to the handful of Republican senators who control the fate of the next nomination.

“Please follow your conscience,” Biden said in a speech in Philadelphia. “Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don’t go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience, let the people speak. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country. We can‘t ignore the cherished system of checks and balances.”

Democratic lawmakers earlier in the day noted that Election Day is only six weeks away and early voting has already begun in several states. Ginsburg’s absence leaves the court with a 5-3 split in favor of conservatives, and the high court is set to take up a case that could determine the fate of Obamacare just one week after the election.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told POLITICO that Republicans essentially created a new rule in 2016 that the Senate should wait to advance a Supreme Court nominee in the final year of a presidential term, and that Democrats are united in holding them to that.

“It doesn’t really matter who it is,” he said of the future nominee. “We are unified in the proposition that we want to hold the Republicans to their word, and we will not entertain a nominee until after Inauguration Day.”

Senate Democrats have limited tools at their disposal as the minority party. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate GOP conference, was adamant that the process would move forward this year.

“The president is going to make a nomination,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “We will hold hearings, and there will be a vote on the floor of the United States Senate this year.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas went even further, insisting that confirming a nominee before the Nov. 3 election was “the right thing to do.” Cruz cited in 2016 “a long tradition” of not considering Supreme Court nominees in an election year.

At least three Republicans recalled on the Sunday shows that there have been 29 vacancies in a presidential election year, and that presidents named a nominee all 29 times. The big difference, Cruz told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” is that the Senate traditionally confirms that nominee when the Senate majority and president are members of the same party.

“It’s not just simply your party, my party,” he said. “The reason is, it’s a question of checks and balances. In order for a Supreme Court nomination to go forward, you have to have the president and the Senate.”

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said it’s “too soon to say right now” whether Republicans would confirm a nominee before the election, but he insisted the Senate would move forward “without delay,” echoing the president’s language.

“In 2014, the American people elected a Republican majority to the Senate to put the brakes on President Obama’s judicial nominations. In 2018, we had a referendum on this question,” Cotton told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” citing the contentious confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“There could not have been a clearer mandate, because the American people didn’t just reelect Republicans. They expanded our majority,” Cotton said. “They defeated four Democratic senators who voted against Justice Kavanaugh. They reelected the one Democratic senator who did vote for Justice Kavanaugh.”

Democrats who appeared on the Sunday shows were uniformly opposed to the Senate’s advancing Trump’s future nominee, especially given that polling shows Biden currently favored to win the election and Democrats could regain control of the Senate.

But the party appeared to try several different tacks rather than one unified strategy. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said he would personally appeal to his Republican colleagues, who he suggested should respect the 2016 precedent they set. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former President Bill Clinton both recalled that President Abraham Lincoln allowed the election to occur before making a Supreme Court nomination when a vacancy opened this close to Election Day.

And Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the president’s rush to nominate a replacement was evidence that he is more focused on crushing the Affordable Care Act than the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.

Pelosi shut down the possibility of Democrats leveraging government funding to slow down the Senate’s confirmation process but did maintain that Democrats have “arrows in our quiver” to stop the Senate from advancing a nominee. She declined, however, to discuss their options.

“People have something at stake in this decision and how quickly the president wants to go,” Pelosi said on “This Week.” “I don’t think they care about who said what when and all the rest of that, but they do care about their own health and well-being and the financial health and well-being of their families.”

NPR reported on Friday that Ginsburg had dictated to her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Republicans have largely dismissed that desire.

“She’s certainly a giant upon whose shoulders many will stand, and she blazed a trail for many women in the legal profession,” said Short, the vice president‘s chief of staff. “But the decision to nominate does not lie with her.”

Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the high court and appeared on three programs Sunday, said it would be worth waiting to see whether people care that several senators, including some up for reelection this fall, are going to go against their positions from 2016.

“It would be very interesting to see whether their position could only be justified as: ‘If my party can do it, now I’m for it. If their party can do it, then I’m against it,” Clinton said on “This Week.” “And if that’s the rule of life in America, then who knows what the consequences will be.”

Marianne LeVine and Christopher Cadelago contributed to this report.

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