Defeating the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the latest battle being carried out by those collectively known as the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement. Twice they have stopped team Kavanaugh within inches of the goal line. The first time was with a carefully choreographed series of accusations of sexual misconduct – each more sensational and less credible that the previous.
The second time was on the eve of the Judiciary Committee vote to send the Kavanaugh nomination on to the Senate. With the help of retiring Republican and occasional renegade Senator Jeff Flake, of Arizona, the full Senate vote has been postponed pending a brief FBI investigation of the accusations of Christine Blasey Ford.
While the work of the FBI is to be rather perfunctory and limited, you can bet that the Democrats and their media allies on the political left will be using the time to concoct and implement all sorts of strategies to further delay and ultimately defeat Kavanaugh. They will not be waiting for the report from the FBI.
Senate Republicans remain optimistic that when the dirty dust has settled, Kavanaugh will be heading to the Supreme Court a few days late from the traditional October 1st opening day. But what if the left is successful and the Kavanaugh vote is a couple short of victory? What then?
The prevailing wisdom is that it will be a great day for the Democrats and their hardcore left-wing base. Their friends in the news media will hype their success as the greatest victory since V-J Day officially ended World War II.
It may be a Pyrrhic Victory, however.
No matter the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections, Republican will still have the power to confirm a nominee before Democrats would take over the House and, even more critically, the Senate in January of 2019. Under any circumstances, the second candidate would be harder to defeat. That is just the nature of these things. All-out extreme opposition would wear thin with the public.
President Trump can play one-upsmanship by appointing a candidate that terrorizes the left even more than Kavanaugh, and there is a good one out there. When Trump narrowed the list down to a precious few, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was on that list. She is in the same tradition as Kavanaugh. Even though both are Roman Catholics, Barrett is considered a much greater opponent of Roe v. Wade.
Barrett puts the Democrats in the unhappy position of having to fight a woman – something that is incompatible with their political genetics. This is especially true if she were nominated before the midterm elections. On the other hand, waiting to make such a nomination until after the midterms could produce some very positive results for the GOP.
I can think of nothing that would energize that coalition of Republicans, populists and freedom loving conservatives that put Trump in the Oval Office more than having a Supreme Court seat hanging in the balance on Election Day. We only have to recall that it was the prospect of filling the vacant seat of Antonin Scalia that motivated a lot of voters to go to the polls and vote for a man they admittedly did not like all that much. Voters had to decide if that open seat would be filled by President Hillary Clinton or President Donald Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hardball political gambit of not moving ahead with President Obama’s choice, Merritt Garland, paid off big time. It can be reasonably argued that it was that seat dangling out there on Election Day that motivated so many conservative voters to get off the sofa and head to the polls. Many, including this writer, believe it was that issue that put Trump over the top.
It is entirely conceivable that by defeating Kavanaugh, the Democrats may suffer actual losses in the Senate and see that much talked about blue wave ebb out to sea.
Though hypothetical, the aforementioned scenario is not impossibility. Democrats should be careful what they wish for.