White House advisers privately described Justice Ginsburg’s death as a significant boost for Mr. Trump’s re-election chances. One person familiar with White House planning said that the new nominee would be announced sooner rather than later, and that the White House hoped that Mr. McConnell would move forward with a vote. The president is likely to meet again with those on his short list in the coming days, the person familiar with the planning said.
Democrats argued that the open seat would rally their own supporters as well, but it was not clear it would make a major difference because they are already motivated to defeat Mr. Trump for other reasons.
“I don’t know how much angrier the left can get,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. She said that Democrats would be animated by the turn of events, and that if Mr. McConnell were to go ahead before the election to move the nomination through, it would cost Republicans the Senate.
Hundreds of admirers of Justice Ginsburg made their way to the Supreme Court on Friday night, holding candles, singing “Amazing Grace” and chanting her initials: “R.B.G., R.B.G., R.B.G.” Flowers accumulated on the court steps, while dozens of people sat silently nearby.
“She stood up for me, and she stood up for you,” said Molly Gilligan of Arlington, Va. “This is a devastating moment, but she gave us a lot to celebrate, as well.”
On the steps closer to the street, people laid signs with some of Justice Ginsburg’s most memorable quotes. But the conversation was never far away from what comes next. “Honor her wish,” the crowd chanted at one point.
“I think it’s tragic that the first thought that a lot of people had was to think about what is the impact on the upcoming elections,” said Massiel Sepulveda of Washington, who joined the mourners at the court. “We can’t even properly mourn a woman who, in her own right, was inspiring for many, who broke down barriers, who set important precedents for women all across this country and across the world.”
Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Adam Liptak and Zach Montague contributed reporting from Washington, and Michael Crowley from Bemidji, Minn.