Why Is Kavanaugh Still a Candidate for SCOTUS?

What I’m seeing in the Kavanaugh mess is very different from what Republicans must be seeing. Because what I’m seeing is that the longer this drags out, the worse Kavanaugh looks to most voters. Yes, opinions about the candidate have hardened along partisan lines, but “swing voters” are mostly going into the opposition camp. Many people who were undecided last week are “no” this week. It also appears that opposition to Kavanaugh is stronger among Dems than support for him is among Republicans. He is, as someone might say, a loser.

Yet, rather than back off from the nomination, Republicans are doubling down. And they are doing this in spite of lots of indicators that Kavanaugh is going to hurt them more than help them in the midterms. Apparently, Republicans think otherwise.

Dylan Scott wrote a couple of days ago,

Republicans aren’t being irrational. While Democrats are appalled, Republicans are listening to a different drummer: the conservative grassroots. Those voters want their Supreme Court justice confirmed, or else they are threatening to stay home on Election Day — and that really could put the Republican majority at risk.

Evangelicals are maybe the single cohort most loyal to Trump and therefore crucial in midterm elections, which will be a referendum on the president. They were already warning Republicans not to withdraw Kavanaugh or else risk electoral disaster before Ramirez came forward. They don’t sound likely to change course now.

The nerds at FiveThirtyEight discuss this perspective and aren’t sure it holds water.  On September 26, at least, they were saying that the Republicans might be better off withdrawing Kavanaugh and replacing him with a less controversial conservative. There was still plenty of time to get the confirmation done and off the plate before the midterms.  They also questioned how important this Supreme Court pick is to the right-wing base, really. One anti-abortion judge is as good as another, and the woods are full of ’em.

However, by sticking with Kavanaugh, and making the whole confirmation about Kavanaugh, and not just about putting a conservative justice on the Court, Republicans could very well be shooting themselves in the foot. At least, it seems that way to me. But, apparently, the Right imagines it is standing on some kind of principle, or even moral higher ground, and they aren’t going to step down.

So Mitch McConnell is preparing to push Kavanaugh through, and if he doesn’t have the votes the Republicans will probably campaign on how Kavanaugh was “borked.”

Of course, a big part of the Republican’s perspective is that they don’t think sexual assault is really a wrong. Especially if it happened a long time ago and the perp is a powerful white guy.

From the perspective of not-Republicans, this issue isn’t really about what Brett Kavanaugh did to Christine Blasey Ford. It’s about a system that protects the predation of men and dismisses the damage done to those they assault. Every time someone stands up and expresses outrage about how Brett Kavanaugh and his family must be suffering, they are saying loudly and clearly that Christine Blasey Ford’s suffering is her problem and she should get over it already, and that, basically, women don’t count.

Yeah, but dude — they vote.

13 thoughts on “Why Is Kavanaugh Still a Candidate for SCOTUS?

  1. Yes, women vote.

    But I wouldn't say that out loud.

    It might give conservatives some anti-female-Suffrage idea's. 


    Bitch McCon-man warned tRUMP against nominating Ol'Brett – he said there were too many warnings about all sorts of crap about him that the the Dem's could jump on.

    But tRUMP LOOOOOOOOOOOVED the fact that Ol'Brett was the only one on the SC list who approved of the expansion of Presidential power:  Including the unimpeded power of presidential pardons – even pardoning himself and his family members.     

    And voters are catching on to all of the political machinations involved, and the more they hear, the less they support either the POTUS and/or the SCOTUS nominee.

    No wonder tRUMP and Bitch wanted to jam their SC nominee "down our throats" ASAP! 

  2. That's what the elevator comment was: you are telling me what happens to me doesn't count.

    I went to an ivy league school in70's and remember the prep school crowd well. Females were crowding into where they had not been common before. Males were acting out their disdain of being competed with .
    So here we are and so little has changed among those in power.

    Like trumpism itself, back to the past when thugs were thugs.

  3. What you're witnessing is an exercise of raw power in where Trump is giving a fidelity test to his underlings to certify his complete rule. The more Kavanaugh is savaged in the process the greater Trump's prize will be. Trump and Mitch have structured this nomination so that the blame and collective punishment for failure is upon the entire GOP Senate for their lack of cohesion, with a special wrath and condemnation upon those members who fail in their allegiance to Trump and the party.

    Truth, decency, and independence of moral conviction are not factors that are to enter into this equation. The closest example to express what I'm sensing from an historical precedent would be from a speech given by Joseph Goebbels at a Nazi party rally where he said…"Hilter is the party and the party is Hitler"… In today's situation just substitute the name Hitler for Trump…and you have the essence of what this whole battle is about. Obedience and obeisance to Trump.


  4. Swami – I agree with what you said, but I'd extend it. The Cavanaugh nomination is a win-win in Trump's mind. If frat-boy is seated, Trump will claim he personally vanquished the Democrats. If Cavanaugh is defeated in a vote, Trump will claim a good man was victimized by evil women in a conspiracy with the Democrats. Victimization plays almost as well for Trump as victory, especially as Trump anticipates his deeds (whatever Mueller finds) will become the main issue in 2019 as the map is unfolding for the 2020 election. 

    Trump only cares about Trump. Evangelicals only care about Roe v Wade. If Cavanaugh is seated, I'm not sure the victory will play well for Trump. Case in point is the NRA suffering a serious revenue drop when gun sales took a dive after Trump's election. Trump may be praying for Cavanaugh's defeat, because keeping the religious far right engaged is essential for Trump but Trump is only a tool for religious kooks to pack the court.  If that's done, WTF do they care about Trump?

    In Machiavellian terms, Kavanaugh being seated may be a huge gift. The undecided voters may shift heavily into voting for Democrats and feel highly motivated to do so. In theory, Kavanaugh could be removed from the court for perjury, if the political climate was there. Is that level of climate change possible? Not today, but what facts about Trump will Mueller bring  to the public in 2019? (Benedict Arnold was a popular hero at one point after the revolution.)

  5. Why doesn’t the Senate disconfirm Kavanaugh on grounds of perjury? That, unlike the rape charges, is easily proven from recent public records. Quick, sure, simple, and wouldn’t that be the collegial, face-saving way out?

    No, not from a Washington point of view. For perjury, precisely because it is _provable_ and _recent_, has serious professional consequences. Loss of SC seat, and also loss of appellate court seat, possibly disbarment, maybe even criminal charges. Whereas rape, credibly alleged but unproven, won’t disbar him.

    So from the DC point of view, what we’re seeing _is_ the face-saving, collegial way out! But the people and DC have differing points of view; distinct systems of value; so this is not only a gender conflict; it is also a class conflict.


  6. paradoctor – "disconfirm" = impeach. Sixty-six votes to impeach would be necessary.  The court could be expanded from nine to eleven justices with sixty votes and a president who is sympathetic to undoing the Garland debacle. Do the Democrats have the balls (excuse the gender-based metaphor) to play by the same rules (or lack of rules) as the Republicans are?

    In "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", Butch planted his boot forcefully without warning at the anatomical point that has caused Kavanaugh so much distress. This was right after the victim declared, "Rules? There are no rules in a knife fight!"

    With Garland and now Kavanaugh, the GOP Senators have declared as a body. "Rules? There are NO rules!" We need to play the game that way until the GOP will commit in writing to what the rules are going to be going forward. That won't happen until we cause the GOP more pain than a "no rules" environment is benefiting the GOP.

  7. doug – by disconfirm I meant to vote him down this coming Thursday. An iffy proposition, I agree. Afterwards, yes, disconfirm = impeach.

  8. I don't understand how the Republicans on Judiciary felt so comfortable that they openly said they would vote to confirm no matter what Dr. Ford said. It just seems dumb to intentionally antagonize independent voters who actually might vote for Republican candidates in November.

    And, I still can't get used to the open disrespect and dismissal of all Americans who are not Republicans. I used to get annoyed when I would hear people make negative generalizations about Republicans. But now it's impossible to argue that there are any Republicans with decency and honor and compassion. They are literally destroying our country. If they are not actively undermining the Constitution and American institutions and traditions, they are standing by silently, allowing it to happen.

  9. The Republicans' game plan for a long time has been to take over the Supreme Court, not just to overturn Roe v. Wade, but to roll back the New Deal and to usher in the era of a corporatist constitution, under which corporations have more rights than humans and fewer responsibilities. To them that's more important than any midterm election. At the moment they are afraid that they may even lose the Senate, whether they confirm Kavanaugh or not, and feel an urgency to get a right-wing conservative confirmed. Dr. Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh were unexpected and are threatening to upset the apple cart. The only leadership Trump can provide is to double down, which is his wont. The Republican Senators had no plan B, and are scrambling. One virtue with doubling down is that it is an apparent show of strength, which appeals to the authoritarian Republican base. My guess is that Pence will cast the deciding vote.

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