And so barring a real compromise, my advice to Democrats would be pretty simple. Forget about long-term strategy and trying to figure out the ideal time to use their Supreme Court filibuster at its most useful moment but before it goes away. That’s just guesswork.
Instead, they should filibuster now if and only if they are confident that Neil Gorsuch would be worse than whoever Trump would replace him with. If so, they should make clear it’s no blockade or revenge for Merrick Garland; it’s a one-time objection to someone they believe is unusually far from the mainstream. And, if so, they should be prepared for the possibility that they might actually defeat Gorsuch and have to live with a replacement nominee.