After a long and hard battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the US Supreme Court, Democrats are hoping that anger over Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation will motivate their supporters to get to the polls next month.
Democrats say the debate over Kavanaugh has ramped up the anger that many women already felt towards President Trump and the Republicans, and will lead to a higher turnout for their candidates.
An online petition to impeach Kavanaugh has more than 150,000 signatures, and other liberal groups are pressing for impeachment despite the strong unlikelihood that the required majority of the Senate would back such a move, even if Congress drafted impeachment articles. Democratic leaders and strategists are trying to quell calls for Kavanaugh to be impeached if the party retakes the House, calling it a premature and most likely futile move.
The Supreme Court showdown has highlighted the battle for control of the Senate and changed the political landscape in the US heartlands. For now, Republicans are overjoyed and Democrats are concerned.
On the other hands Republicans are still facing the possibility of a rout in the House, but Republican leaders believe their base voters better understand the political stakes after the Supreme Court battle, and will turn out to ensure they keep their majority in the Senate.
Saturday’s 50-48 vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh closed one of the most unpredictable nomination processes in recent memory. The moment California college professor Christine Blasey Ford finished her testimony about an alleged sexual assault in the 1980s, Republicans realised his confirmation was at serious risk.
Judge Kavanaugh’s politically charged and combative defence that followed was enough to reassure most of the Senate GOP caucus, but it wasn’t enough to secure his confirmation. It took Republicans another week of slow deliberations to win over the small handful of swing votes who would determine Judge Kavanaugh’s fate.
Both parties head into the midterm election homestretch driven by two of the most powerful currents in US politics: Conservatives’ passion to shape the federal judiciary, and the women’s “#MeToo” movement. Analysts say the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh after a debate over sexual-assault allegations most likely improves the Republicans’ chances of keeping control of the Senate, but cuts the odds on keeping their House majority.
The impact varies because the fight for the Senate is being waged mostly in states where President Trump and his nomination for the Supreme Court are popular, while the House battleground is mostly in suburban districts more opposed to the president.
The bottom line is both sides now view the Kavanaugh fight as part of a midterm election that was expected, based on polling and historical trends, to lean against the White House. The outcome could set the tone for the rest of the president’s first term.