BCK FILE--The road to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation had all the markings of what has become the Trump political brand: rage, divisiveness, and a hefty dose of misogyny, often from the president himself.
The vote itself was essentially along party lines, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) breaking with his party and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) withdrawing her vote, which she said would have been against confirmation.
In true Trump form, the president issued a prediction that the Alaska senator would “never recover” from her decision. Also in true Trump form, he has been weaponizing what he perceives as a shining victory at his Saturday rally in Topeka and on Twitter.
Five days prior to the confirmation vote, Trump mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi rally, using his trademark bullying tone. He bragged Saturday that his “performance” was necessary to “level the playing field” and contributed to Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Politics aside, the Senate hearing, sexual assault allegations, and Kavanaugh’s irate non-responses have triggered memories in many assault victims. On the other side, Trump’s warned, “It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very very -- this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has so much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice.”
Inciting terror and reverse victimization status is what propelled Trump to the White House. Those who fear they will lose everything while women, people of color, and immigrants usurp power and jobs love Trump. He confirms their greatest fears and normalizes racism, white supremacy, misogyny, and homophobia. After all, this is the guy who once advised, “You have to treat ‘em (women) like sh*t.” (New York Magazine, 1992).
Ford’s allegations alone might have toppled another candidate or at least prompted the president to request a withdrawal. Additional allegations by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick didn’t even derail the train.
2,400 law school professors signed a letter published in the New York Times that was presented to the Senate on October 4, opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation based on his lack of restraint.
Still, Kavanaugh got a free pass. Trump, other conservative politicians, and social media misogynists point to Kavanaugh as a martyr who life was destroyed by female accusers. Susan Collins explained her votes by characterizing Ford as confused about Kavanaugh’s identity.
Kavanaugh is the Supreme Court candidate for the Trump era. He is brazen and entitled in his disregard for societal laws, as well as respect for the Court. He blatantly lied about issues relevant to Ford’s recollection -- and he fumed at the Democratic senators with a half-baked conspiracy theory, referencing payback from the Clintons.
We can speculate how Kavanaugh’s replacement of Kennedy, who often served as the “swing” vote will impact the Court. There’s a definite anti-woman sentiment in social media and in article comment threads. The president recently antagonized a female reporter at a White House press conference.
We hear messaging about how we need to heal as a country while Trump uses his Executive Time to create earthquakes, deepening fault lines of divisiveness. That’s his MO and his perceived path to 2020.
What can we do in the meantime?
According to a CBS News/YouGov poll released on Saturday, over 50% of registered voters surveyed in New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, and Tennessee in both parties said they were more motivated to vote in the midterms. Prior to the confirmation, there was speculation that the Democrats were more likely to voice their opinions at the polls.
The midterms have particular significance as the Judicial branch has another conservative justice. With a populist who courts conservatism in the executive branch and a majority Republican House, the time is now.
Never take the ‘blue wave’ for granted and don’t stop resisting!
(Beth Cone Kramer is a professional writer living in the Los Angeles area. She covers Resistance Watch and other major issues for CityWatch.)