10/11/2018

John Fund: Winners And Losers In The Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight

John Fund, Fox News

In assessing who comes out ahead or behind after the Kavanaugh firestorm, let’s acknowledge that in some ways we don’t know: the midterm elections a month from now have become more chaotic and uncertain as the Kavanaugh hearing has added fuel to the already raging partisan flames.

The election impact may be a split outcome.  In four states where Democratic Senators are running for re-election, Trump and his Supreme Court pick are popular.  Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Jon Tester of Montana may go down to defeat because the intensity of their liberal base’s opposition prevented them from moving to the center and voting for Kavanaugh.  Last year, both Donnelly and Heitkamp, for example, voted for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court choice.

For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks the excesses of the Kavanaugh opposition are a “great political gift.”  He told The Hill newspaper on Saturday that “The tactics have energized our base. I want to thank the mob, because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base.”

But there is a flip side of the political impact. The confirmation of Kavanaugh could inflame suburban women, who will play a key role in deciding whether or not the GOP can defend 25 seats won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.  Take Southern California, where Democrats are currently leading or tied in four Orange County districts Clinton carried but which also elected a Republican in 2016.

A Democratic poll released Wednesday found that women in the four Orange County seats said they would be less likely to vote Republican if Kavanaugh was confirmed.

While there is a lot that’s uncertain about the Kavanaugh fallout, we can draw some conclusions on who winners or losers are:

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