This past weekend was grim for Democrats and sexual assault survivors. There’s no getting around that fact.
What to many seemed the unthinkable has taken place, and a man whose reputation has been credibly called into question, even before the sexual assault allegations came out against him, has been given a seat on the nation’s highest court.
This despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s compelling testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which even Republicans were forced to admit was credible, where she said she was “100%” sure her attacker was Trump Supreme Court nominee, and now justice, Brett Kavanaugh.
The question now is will the anger turn in on itself, in the form of depression and apathy, or will progressive voters turn it outward, registering to vote in record numbers and making their disgust felt with real change, in the form of taking back the House and perhaps even the Senate?
There is no doubt Democratic voters are feeling motivated heading into the last several weeks before Election Day, but so too are Republicans, who have somehow turned Kavanaugh, and men generally, into the victims of the Ford story.
No doubt many Republicans do think Kavanaugh was innocent, or that what he did do, if he did anything at all and it wasn’t some sort of lookalike, wasn’t all that bad, and was so long ago anyways, right? Just kids. And many might also believe the real danger is for falsely accused men. After all, their president said “it’s a very scary time to be a young man right now.”
As a young woman, Texas-based singer and dancer Lynzy Lab Stewart pointed out in her brilliant satirical, musical response, it always was and still is a much scarier time to be a woman. And the real fear and anger that has been stoked by this successful nomination is more motivating than scaremongering about an imminent future where everyone’s sons and brothers are being dragged out into the streets to be falsely accused of sexual assault.
Trump has himself been accused of sexual assault, and while, yes, he did win in 2016, he lost the popular vote and has only become increasingly unhinged, clearly in bed with the Russians, and more and more unpopular with the electorate. His win is also credited in large part with the rise in LGBTQ people, women, and people of color running for office, and the midterms will largely be seen as a referendum on his job performance while in the White House.
Meanwhile, more young people have come of age to vote, and movements like March For Our Lives are working to get out that historically difficult to turn out voting bloc.
Those efforts seem to be working. Not only did approximately 800,000 people sign up to vote on National Voter Registration Day, Taylor Swift’s decision to get political for the first time, endorsing Democratic candidates and encouraging fans to vote resulted in a surge in registrations as well.
And just like talk of starting impeachment proceedings has been inspiring progressives heading into the midterms, there are now whispers of impeaching Kavanaugh as well.
The process for impeaching a Supreme Court justice is the same as impeaching a president. So the Democrats would need only a simple majority in the House to successfully vote for impeachment of either men there.
However, it would take a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict and have them removed from office, or the bench, as the case may be. While Democrats are hopeful they can retake the Senate as well as the House, that alone is already an uphill battle.
Still, if Democrats win the House, they could begin that process, and in so doing discover more about Justice Kavanaugh’s past, including documents dating back to his time in the Bush White House that were kept under wraps, as well as a more thorough investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him than the insufficient glance the FBI was able to take after the Trump White House severely limited its scope.
Similarly, beginning impeachment proceedings on Trump could reveal more about the Russian collusion, paying off Stormy Daniels, alleged tax fraud, and the various other dirty dealings of this current administration.
That could bring another wave of support for Democratic candidates, and in an ideal situation for the party, could perhaps even see a sweep of the House, Senate, and White House in 2020. If the dirt from Kavanaugh’s past continues to get shaken loose and rise to the surface, there’s no reason impeachment proceedings couldn’t be set into motion at that point, with a better possibility for success.
But if Republicans manage to have a strong showing, even if they narrowly lose control of the House but hold onto the Senate, expect much crowing about how this vindicates their worldview, and shows Democrats are just an “angry mob” out of touch with real Americans. If that happens, get ready for the Trump Train to get thrown into even further overdrive.