On Kavanaugh, Should You Switch Sides?

September 17, 2018

The partisan divide over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court runs deep. Rank-and-file Democrats are desperate to keep Kavanaugh from being confirmed; rank-and-file Republicans are pressuring their representatives to push the confirmation through. But, is it possible that both Democrats and Republicans are rooting for the wrong side?

 

Democrat operatives know that it is often better to strategically lose a battle than to win a Pyrrhic victory. The throw-everything-against-the-wall campaign against Kavanaugh was not initially intended to bring Kavanaugh down. Democrats assumed that the battle was already lost, and were working to create the impression that Republicans muscled a nefarious, Right-wing candidate onto the Supreme Court. To this end, they needed as much dirt as possible to stick to Kavanaugh.

 

The latest sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh slightly changes the political calculus. Democrats now have to be careful because there is a real chance they could block Kavanaugh's confirmation. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, and Bob Corker ("Republicans of conscience," according to the Washington Post) liked Kavanaugh, but now might flip. After all, it was allegations of sexual misbehavior which made them distance themselves from President Trump in the first place.

 

During the primary elections, Republican voters set a clear message to their Republican representatives in Congress: get on board with the Trump agenda. And now a handful of Republican Senators might switch sides to obstruct the very actions the Republican base elected Trump to perform: nominating conservative Justices. Nothing could fire up the Republican base in November more than an eleventh-hour betrayal by RINOs.

 

As I have pointed out before, the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections will largely depend upon public fear regarding "threats to democracy." Democrats could win big in November if they convince moderate Americans that Republicans are bullies who abuse their power to upset the balance of the Supreme Court. On the other hand, Republicans could win big if they convince moderate Americans that Democrats are disrupting the operations of government with the same dirty tricks they used to try to get Hillary Clinton elected.

 

Americans tend to support an underdog. So, ironically, whoever wins the current battle over Kavanaugh's confirmation could end up losing the war for public opinion by making themselves appear to be the bigger threat to the will of the people.

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