With the nuclear blast of more allegations of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh chronicled by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, Republicans are, in a word, fucked. And they have no one but themselves to blame:
The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.
Now we know why Republicans were so frantic last week to bury the original allegation by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. They knew this was coming and it’s safe to assume there’s more. Michael Avenatti is also getting ready to drop a bomb of his own and he has yet to deliver a dud. Just between the time I started this article and the time I was getting ready to publish, a fourth woman came forward with yet another allegation against Kavanaugh. The week’s just started and it’s already a nightmare for the GOP.
It’s important to take a moment to reflect on the fact that Republicans knew a credible allegation was coming and their response was to try to get Kavanaugh confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land before it hit. These are not people interested in the sanctity of the Supreme Court but in whether or not they can control it with ideologues and extremists.
This could have been avoided if they had bothered to carefully vet Kavanaugh. He was already a lifetime appointment doing God’s work (“God” in this context meaning “Corporations”) and he could have stayed there for another 30 years, pumping out pro-corporate precedent for a right-wing Supreme Court to base ludicrous decisions on. But Republicans got arrogant and Trump got desperate.
Republicans have been getting away with political murder for so long they figured they could put anyone they wanted on the Court and Democrats wouldn’t do a goddamn thing about it. After all, they got away with stealing a seat from Obama and placing Gorsuch. Replacing Kennedy with a hard right zealot would be easy! And Trump demanded a Justice that would overlook any…indiscretions of his. Like corruption, obstruction of justice, or even a little treason. Kavanaugh was perfect. Hell, he even had a sizable debt problem that someone made disappear last year. An easy point of leverage on an already compromised judge, what could possibly go wrong?
Turns out a lot can go wrong in a very short amount of time.
It seems like ages ago but in reality, it’s been less than three weeks since Kavanaugh first sat down in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and started to lie. In that time, Kavanaugh has become the most unpopular nominee in recent history and has been meeting with the White House constantly to presumably plan out strategies to deal with the accusations against him. Republicans have resorted to increasingly unhinged tactics to justify moving forward with the obviously unfit jurist and the public is growing increasingly more furious that they’re even still thinking about it.
If Republicans go forward with Kavanaugh, and that’s a big “if” because Mayer and Farrow are not easily dismissed, despite the credible and multiplying allegations against him, the beating they’re already going to take in November will be so much worse. Enraged voters will flock to the polls to punish the party that put a sexual predator on the Supreme Court after putting one in the White House. And it seems unlikely that they’ll forget that fact anytime soon. Republicans, already deeply unpopular with women, will have made a permanent enemy of a good chunk of the female vote.
Sure, they’ll control the Supreme Court but they’ll lose everything else up and down the ballot. The Court is powerful but when Republicans are kicked out of everything from school boards to Governor’s mansions, there’s only so much an activist Court can do.
On the other hand, If Republicans do withdraw Kavanaugh, or he finally quits before the rest of his apparently sordid history comes to light, Republicans will have to pray they hold onto the Senate or they’ll have to push through a new nominee during the lame duck session, something I’m not sure has ever been done before. Not that this would stop them from trying but the opposition would be even fiercer considering Mcconnell’s “the people have to decide with an election” excuse for refusing to hold hearings on Merrick Garland. Karma’s a bitch like that.
McConnell, naturally, couldn’t care less about being called the worst hypocrite to ever exist but it’s not clear the rest of the GOP would follow him. Especially since several would be leaving politics and would no longer be answering to Fox News and the rage junkies of Trump‘s base. In that case, the Democrats will either force Trump to pick a truly centrist Justice or just leave the seat open. Republicans can’t even scream about how it would be a crisis to leave the Court shorthanded since they did it for over a year. Again, Karma is a bitch and she enjoys her job.
If Republicans had carefully picked an extremist with a clean background, this would have probably been over by now. Right wing operatives are, by and large, soulless monsters but they can’t all be sexual predators. It wouldn’t have been that hard to find someone, maybe even a woman! (just kidding, they’d never do that), who would do everything Kavanaugh promised Trump he would do but without being vulnerable to investigation by the press.
But they didn’t so now they’re forced to gamble everything on a tainted nominee. Sooner or later, Republican luck is going to run out. Let’s hope this is it.