Democrats struggling to stop Kavanaugh

  • 13 August 2018
  • NormanL

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings are likely to begin in the first week of September. That's good news. What is interesting, and perhaps better news, is Democrats don't seem to have it in them to mount a huge fight over his nomination. From the New York Times, we learn the foot soldiers of any anti-Kavanaugh movement are tired, distracted, and a little bit jaded:

The confirmation fight over Judge Kavanaugh was once billed as the mother of all Supreme Court battles, a fight to the death with the court’s ideological balance on the line. Advocacy groups raised seven-figure war chests, warning that Judge Kavanaugh poses an existential threat to abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act and checks on presidential power. Activist ground troops were put on call.
And with Republicans clinging to a single-seat Senate majority, anti-Kavanaugh forces figured they needed just to hold Democrats together in opposition while turning two Republican senators against the nominee — or just one, if Senator John McCain of Arizona remains unavailable for a final vote as he battles brain cancer.

Yet across the country this August, energizing and sustaining on-the-ground opposition to a nominee whom most Republicans and some moderate Democrats have deemed well qualified has been difficult, especially when liberal energy is intensely focused on midterm elections less than 90 days away.

“It’s kind of like, how do we go on? It’s so hard,” Barbara Nelson, a liberal activist from Stanton, Iowa, said after a town-hall meeting in Corning, Iowa, where Senator Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had met with constituents who were evenly divided over the nomination. “My only hope is that if you just keep saying it often enough, maybe they’ll start believing it.”

Maybe. But those same activists are putting their time, effort, and catchy slogans into the mid-term congressional elections. Plus, conservatives are meeting liberals head-on at the grassroots level over Kavanaugh -- and that is adding steel to the spine of potentially weak GOP senators.

Another obstacle Democrats face? The weakness in their own Senate caucus:

But political realities have quickly set in. Democrats in West Virginia, North Dakota and Indiana — states Mr. Trump won by yawning margins — all supported Justice Gorsuch and are under intense pressure to support Judge Kavanaugh or risk jeopardizing their re-election campaigns.

There's no guarantee those Democrats will support Kavanaugh, and they may yet oppose him (all the more reason for conservatives to keep up the pressure). And there is still the possibility a few Republicans could break ranks, too. Democrats have been counting on that, but for the moment, the GOP seems united. It's up to folks like you to see they stay united...and make sure Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed.