Monday’s front page showed the New York Time will play every conceivable angle to push the Democrats over the top in the November elections. The latest line of attack: the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, and especially the long-delayed sexual assault accusation leveled against him. Reporter Jonathan Martin’s “G.O.P., Aiding Pick for Court, Risks Backlash -- Boon Becomes Possible Liability in Midterms,” sounded awfully familiar, as did the accompanying text box: “Staunch defense of a judge could come back to haunt the G.O.P.”
Odd how everything seems to haunt the G.O.P. when elections approach, though many of those ghosts strangely disappear when the actual results come in.
Martin reported from the swing state of Missouri, and the campaign of vulnerable Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, pitted against state Attorney General Josh Hawley. Martin helpfully warned Hawley off using his support for Kavanaugh as a “cudgel.”
Yet in Missouri and other politically competitive battleground states, leaders in both parties are increasingly doubtful that Mr. Hawley and other Republicans can wield the Kavanaugh nomination as a cudgel without risking unpredictable repercussions in the midterm elections.
With Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, scheduled to testify this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and many women furious over President Trump’s attacks on Dr. Blasey, a Supreme Court nomination that was once seen as a political winner in many conservative-leaning states could, instead, rouse female voters and independents who otherwise may have cared little about the confirmation fight.
Suburban women are pivotal in this year’s campaign, and many of them were already tilting toward Democrats because of their contempt for President Trump. If Republicans are too harsh in their questioning of Dr. Blasey, they risk inviting an even greater backlash at the ballot box in an election where their House majority is in peril and their one-vote Senate majority is teetering.
And with record numbers of women running for office, their voices and those of female voters could crescendo in highly competitive election-year states from Arizona to Florida to New Jersey in support of Dr. Blasey if she testifies as scheduled. Her story makes it far harder, Republicans say, for their candidates to treat Judge Kavanaugh as an unalloyed asset and excoriate Democrats who oppose him.
No matter if the allegations are true or not?
What alarms Republicans is that staunch defenses of Judge Kavanaugh, like the one made by Mr. Hawley, could haunt them if Dr. Blasey makes a compelling case before the committee. One Republican senator, Dean Heller of Nevada, has already come under political attack for describing Dr. Blasey’s allegation as “a hiccup” for Judge Kavanaugh.
As negotiations unfolded between Senate Republicans and Dr. Blasey about her testifying before Congress, some party officials were growing nervous about how President Trump and the largely male slate of Senate candidates were handling what could turn out to be political dynamite....
Martin implied the state was no longer representative of America, given it “has taken a sharp turn to the right in recent years.”
Yet after doomsaying GOP prospects over Kavanaugh, Martin suggested it might not be a major influence one way or the other:
But, at least for now, few casual voters list the Supreme Court as a top priority.
“I was out five hours yesterday, I didn’t have the Kavanaugh thing come up one time,” said Wes Epperson, a retired Teamster who has been canvassing for Ms. McCaskill in Independence.