NPR poll: Share of Republicans who say midterms are “very important” leaps amid Kavanaugh battle

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A noteworthy counter to the data in the last post showing declining support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Those polls and this one aren’t contradictory, to be clear: It’s simultaneously possible that (a) Kavanaugh will be held in low regard as a justice and the GOP will lose some votes in the center for confirming him and (b) Republican voters are righteously angry at how Kavanaugh’s been treated by Democrats and are now very eager to communicate that fact in November.

The share of Republican women who say it’s very important to vote this fall is greater than the share of Republican men who say so. That’s not what you’d expect after the Kavanaugh follies. But then, you also wouldn’t expect the share of Democratic men who say it’s very important to vote exceeding the share of Democratic women who agree. Huh.

It makes perfect sense that a stark reminder of how important Supreme Courts seat are and how ruthless the opposing party can be in pursuit of them might remind Republican voters that control of the Senate is crucial. Ultimately, though, the drama will end and we’ll have a confirmation or a rejection. What happens then? You can make semi-plausible arguments for any of the following four possibilities:

1. Kavanaugh is confirmed and Republican enthusiasm surges. They stared down the cutthroat Democrats, stood by a man unjustly accused, and made the Court more conservative. Maybe Trump has taught them collectively how to grow a pair. This is a party I can support eagerly!

2. Kavanaugh is confirmed and Republican enthusiasm plateaus. It’s great that they did their jobs but the threat from the left has now been neutralized. We own the Court. That means the stakes are lower for us in November than they would have been if the seat was still open — and higher for Democrats, who are themselves angry and want to make sure Trump doesn’t get any more SCOTUS appointments.

3. Kavanaugh is borked and Republican enthusiasm plateaus. These lousy RINOs couldn’t confirm a mainstream replacement for Kennedy’s seat even with total control of government. They let the left smear Kavanaugh until he was unconfirmable, destroying a good man and incentivizing future smears. I’m done with them. Let Democrats have control of Congress. Flake, Collins, and Murkowski are basically Democrats anyway.

4. Kavanaugh is borked and Republican enthusiasm surges. These sonofabitch Democrats will do anything to stop Trump and the right, up to and including promoting phony rape allegations. Now we’re supposed to stand by and let them take over Congress? We’ll never get a conservative for the Kennedy seat if that happens. What we need to do is replace cowardly Dems like Manchin and cucks like Flake with Republicans who’ll listen to Trump.

I think the fourth is the soundest argument, but of course it comes with the momentous risk of having the seat remain vacant through the midterms. If the Senate flips, there probably won’t be 50 votes for a new nominee during the lame-duck session. Which means the person who ends up finally filling the Kennedy seat might be a Democrat in 2021.

If you’re looking for reasons to believe a red wave is rising in anger at how Kavanaugh’s been treated, Fox News gave you a new one this afternoon:

That was a tight race as recently as three weeks ago. Then Ford came forward and the Democrat-media complex dug in. Now it’s approaching landslide territory.

That wasn’t the only poll Fox released today, though. If there’s a red wave rising to avenge Kavanaugh, how come it seems to be showing up only in North Dakota?

As for that tantalizing detail in the NPR data up top suggesting that Republican women, not men, are the ones most outraged by the Kavanaugh process, The Atlantic has anecdotal evidence to back it up:

In interviews with roughly a dozen female conservative leaders from as many states, this was the overwhelming sentiment: These women are infuriated with the way the sexual-assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been handled. They are not convinced by Ford or any other woman who has come forward. They resent the implication that all women should support the accusers. And they believe that this scandal will ultimately hurt the cause of women who have been sexually assaulted…

A big source of conservative women’s anger about Kavanaugh seems to come from a fundamental sense of unfairness: They believe Kavanaugh was convicted in the court of public opinion before he ever had a chance to defend himself. Howard told me that every cable-news network seemed strongly biased against the judge: She was watching NBC at a work event, and “the anchors … were just praising this woman like she was the next Rosa Parks or something,” she says. “I mean, I was screaming at the TV.”

Polls thus far have consistently showed women across the population more skeptical of Kavanaugh than men are and some have showed Republican women less enthusiastic about confirming him than men. But maybe that’s changed, per the NPR data. The point in the excerpt is well-taken too. Media bias against Republicans is a fact of life, particularly in high-stakes battles like this one, but the near-absolute trust placed in Ford’s credibility and the drumbeat of stories that seem aimed at embarrassing Kavanaugh for the sake of embarrassing him rather than challenging any material point in his testimony have made the bias egregious in this case even by the usual standards. With the possible exception of gun control, I can’t remember a subject on which the press’s rooting interests were as clear as they’ve been lately. But that stands to reason: The Kavanaugh confirmation battle is to some extent a proxy war over abortion, a core “value” of enlightened liberalism. They’re going to shank Kavanaugh with any weapon they can duct-tape together. And then, if he collapses, they’ll get ready to shank whoever replaces him.

You know it’s bad when even a guy who spends 98 percent of his time in public attacking Trump is complaining about it.

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