Amazingly enough, Senate Republicans are now heading toward a pre-election confirmation vote. The timing will obviously be very tight and there will be absolutely no margin for error. But this is the right call. Republicans realized, correctly, that waiting until a lame-duck session is too big a risk, and that it might come down to confirming before the election or not confirming at all. If Republicans lose the election, the pressure for them not to go forward would be crushing and it would be hard to see them resisting it (they’d also have very little leverage to make any deals). In terms of the sheer politics, it’s hard to say with any certainty whether holding the seat open or just going ahead and confirming would be best, so holding the seat open would be a risky bet with enormous downsides: i.e., losing the election anyway and not confirming a justice.