How Kavanaugh Could Help The GOP

October 04, 2018

Following last week’s extraordinary testimony by Prof. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, public attitudes are split and malleable.

The hearing eroded support for Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, according to a Sept. 30 Harvard-Harris poll. Before the hearing, 36% of voters favored his confirmation with 38% opposed and 26% undecided. After the hearing, support for confirmation was roughly unchanged, but opposition ticked up to 44% as the share of undecideds fell. Responses broke along partisan lines: Republicans favored confirmation 72% to 13%, while Democrats opposed it 71% to 16%. Independents also opposed confirmation, 45% to 28%.

But the tide of opinion could reverse after the Federal Bureau of Investigation finishes its supplemental background check. The Harvard-Harris survey also asked respondents where they would stand if the FBI review “finds no corroboration” of Ms. Ford’s accusations. In that case, support for confirming Judge Kavanaugh rises to 60%—including 58% among independents—while opposition drops to 40%.

This is why Democrats—who demanded an FBI investigation—are likely to disparage it once it concludes. They will argue it was rushed even though Sen. Amy Klobuchar initially said “let’s give this one week” and Sen. Mazie Hirono said over the weekend “there is time to get to the bottom of it, even if it’s seven days.” In a Sept. 20 letter to the White House, Democratic senators noted that “the FBI finished its work in three days” when investigating accusations against Clarence Thomas in 1991.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal has already called the FBI’s time frame “too accelerated and too artificial.” After Democrats warned the White House not to influence the FBI’s work, Mr. Blumenthal now demands the FBI question 25 people. Once the investigation wraps up, Democrats may insist on another televised hearing. Others will drop the sexual-assault issue and turn to teenage drinking and yearbook scribbles to suggest Judge Kavanaugh misled the Judiciary Committee.

Democrats aren’t the only ones revved up by all this. The Harvard-Harris poll found 46% of Republicans along with 50% of Democrats agreed “the battle over Brett Kavanaugh” made them “more likely to turn out and vote in this November’s midterm elections.” Republicans have generally been less enthusiastic than Democrats, but they may have been jolted into action by this controversy.

The GOP could strengthen its hand further—especially with independents—by keeping the focus on how Democrats created this mess. Sixty-nine percent of all voters—not just Republicans—believe “the Senate confirmation hearings . . . have been a national disgrace.” Seventy-five percent of voters agree Sen. Dianne Feinstein should “have immediately turned over the letter from Christine Blasey Ford” rather than sit on it for six weeks until it was leaked in the media. Note to California Republicans, left without a Senate candidate by the state’s open primary: Vote for Mrs. Feinstein’s Democratic opponent, Kevin de Leon. The better his showing in California’s red precincts, the bigger the rebuke to Mrs. Feinstein.

How will this ugly confirmation fight affect the midterms? In crucial Senate races in red states like Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia, it will hurt Democrats. There are simply a lot more Republicans than Democrats in these states, and Republicans support Judge Kavanaugh. That’s why North Dakota’s Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin and Tennessee hopeful Phil Bredesen, all Democrats, have yet to join their party’s mob trying to destroy the nominee.

Continue reading at

Related Article

October 18, 2018 |
Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings jolted Republican enthusiasm. The July 22 NPR/PBS News House/Marist poll, for example, found that 78% of Democrats and only 68% of Republicans considered this midterm “very important.”  ...
October 11, 2018 |
Many Republicans celebrated Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s swearing-in Monday as the end of a bitter confirmation battle. But the game isn’t over.  ...
September 27, 2018 |
Thursday will be an immensely consequential day for America. As of this writing, Christine Blasey Ford is scheduled to appear in the morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  ...
September 20, 2018 |
The Democrats’ most potent national policy issue in the 2018 midterms is health care, and it’s showing up on TV. One Arizona ad says Martha McSally, the Republican congresswoman running for Senate, “voted to gut protections for people with pre-existing co...
Button karlsbooks
Button readinglist
Button nextapperance