I have no idea why the Republicans are insisting on confirming Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court–I mean, aren’t there a whole slew of white, male, anti-choice judges they can nominate? Because putting this sexist, predatory, dick-waving loser up in our faces and forcing us to like it is hurting the GOP’s chances not only in the future, as more and more people, especially women, leave the GOP for good, but also in the short term, as John Cassidy of the New Yorker points out:
“… the backlash against Kavanaugh’s confirmation among liberals and moderate voters, particularly women, will surely carry even greater intensity. In the weeks leading up to November 6th, it could give a boost to Democratic candidates everywhere, particularly in suburban areas, where the balance of power in the House of Representatives will be determined. That makes a Democratic takeover of the House … even more likely than it is already, which can hardly be classified as good news for the G.O.P. and Donald Trump.
A lot of the credit has to go to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, whose willingness to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee at great risk to her personal reputation (and safety) has completely tipped the scales on how independent voters perceive Kavanaugh, and likely tipped their votes in favor of the Dems in the upcoming midterm elections, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released on October 1:
“Independent voters, who supported Kavanaugh 45 – 39 percent September 10, oppose his confirmation 49 – 39 percent today.”
A Marist Poll presents similar results, and includes the juicy detail that, now, a majority of women who lean independent believe Ford over Kavanaugh:
“Among independents, a plurality say they believe Ford (47%) over Kavanaugh (29%). While a majority of women (52%) believe the testimony of Ford, there is little consensus among men. 39% of men say they think Kavanaugh was being honest, 37% report Ford was truthful, and 24% are unsure.”
That’s a big deal for the midterms, as it is exactly these voters who can make or break the Democrats in key swing districts around the country. Cassidy points out the Republicans, by tying their boats to a sinking Kavanaugh, are likely going to rise the tide of Democrats by default:
“We’ll have to wait to see what impact this has in places like New Jersey’s Eleventh Congressional District, Illinois’s Sixth District, Pennsylvania’s Sixth District, and Texas’s Thirty-second District, which are all Republican-held seats that represent affluent suburban communities with a high proportion of college-educated voters. But, on the basis of the latest polls, it seems fair to assume that voters in these sorts of areas, particularly female ones, will be even more motivated to register a protest against the G.O.P. and Trump.”
In fact, the stink of Kavanaugh’s beer-drenched misogyny has even scared away the white women. You know, the same ones who helped Trump scrape by with a victory in 2016, but are now starting to have some serious buyers’ remorse. Former sorority gals around the country are starting to recognize Trump and his pals for what they are: the same frat guys who used to try and roofie them in college.
“That [Quinnipiac] survey found that sixty-seven per cent of college-educated white females disapproved of the way Senate Republicans were handling the allegations against Kavanaugh, and fifty-eight per cent thought he shouldn’t be confirmed.”
It’s starting to look like this is the Democrats’ election to lose. We already have a powerfully unpopular Republican president who grows more unpopular by the day. 53% of voters now disapprove of Trump’s presidency, up four points since September–no president within his first two years of being in office has reached those numbers since Harry Truman lost eastern Europe to the Soviets.
But instead of heeding the lessons of Truman, who oversaw the loss of Congress to his rival party when the Democrats couldn’t distance themselves from him fast enough, the entire Republican wing of Congress is not only bending over backwards to kiss the ass of one of the most unpopular Presidents in U.S. history, but now, with their rush to nominate Kavanaugh, they’re actively working to piss off the voters they most desperately need if they want to keep control in 2018. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch went so far as to say in yesterday’s press conference that the confirmation of Kavanaugh “will be a… victory for the Senate,” helping to ensure that those who hate Kavanaugh will identify this misogynist bully with the Republican Congress and have a vested interest in voting out the bastards a month from now.
What worries me, though, is the Democrats’ amazing decades-long ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Will they be able to capitalize on these numbers and reach out to voters on issues they care about?
This plurality of voters who care deeply about women’s issues is no fluke–it is just the first ripple in a tidal wave, one only hinted at by the women’s marches of the past two years, of the activists who hijacked Jeff Flake’s elevator ride, of the fact that only 23% of Millennial women now support the Republicans, a shift that is growing ever wider.
And it’s not just women’s issues that are motivating young voters. In the past decade we’ve seen the populace, especially the young, embrace gay marriage, march against police brutality, and speak out about global capitalism. We’ve seen people combing the deserts of Texas and the Southwest to bring food and water to migrants. We’ve seen people put their bodies on the line to protect indigenous land against intrusion by polluters and risk their lives by climbing into old growth Douglas firs to protect them from being cut down by greedy logging companies. And just this week, we’ve seen activists spontaneously take to the streets, blocking traffic, demanding an end to violence against black trans women.
These are not people on the fringe, even if the press tends to ridicule or, worse, ignore them. These are outliers, the first-adopters of the America, and of the world, that is coming whether we want it or not, with our without the help of the system.
And yet for decades now, the Democratic elite have been disavowing this powerful and ever-growing base of progressives, instead trying to focus on the votes, and the money, they get from the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation before them, the only voting block that actively votes more for Republicans than for Democrats.
And why? Why are they acting like the dying husk of a New Deal that they’re sheepish and almost ashamed of, rather than like the cusp of a new wave? Why, when it’s not even a winning strategy for independents on the margins? Only in a “leftist” party this warped, with weak-willed relics of the 90s like Senator Dianne Feinstein at the helm, would an old man like Bernie Sanders become the choice of the next generation, and a former prosecuting attorney like Kamala Harris seem almost like a radical simply because she asked Kavanaugh a sensible question or two about his sexist, drunken past as part of his job interview.
Goddam it, Dems… I’ve always voted for you. But you’ve got me feeling like a disgruntled hockey fan from the movie Slapshot.
Look, maybe I’m just pissing into the wind. I doubt very much that any power players in the Democratic Party are reading this. But if you are, what I’m really saying is, you’ve got a month.
In one month, people like me are going to the polls, and we hate the Republicans. In one month, you have an opportunity to “play it safe” and maybe squeak by with a victory in the House of Representatives, or play it smart, speak with the future, for the things we care about, for democracy and human rights and equality and Planet Earth, and win big. In one month, you can yet again be the party of “anyone but the Republicans,” or you can win not despite the Republicans, but because of what you stand for.
Either way, and even if he’s confirmed, you should thank your lucky stars that Brett Kavanaugh was the line in the sand that the Republicans have drawn. His angry, drunken, puffy, frat boy face is everything we hate. A wave of anger is going to wash that line right the fuck out. And so, yeah, you’re probably going to get our votes. But this is also your opportunity to start earning them. It’s your call.