A few days ago, I wrote that the liberal grand strategy around the Kavanaugh hearings is causing them significant problems and making them no real gains.
One consequence I discussed was how this was driving the Republicans who don’t like Trump back into our arms. More evidence that this is happening is now being reflected in the polls:
The accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are widely perceived to be a boon to Democrats heading into the midterm elections in November. “The women of this country identify with Dr. Ford and will not forget what is happening here,” Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, told NBC News over the weekend. “They are not angry, they are furious, and I expect the largest women’s turnout in a midterm—ever.”
In fact, however, the Kavanaugh spectacle seems to have evaporated the Democrats’ enthusiasm edge, according to a poll conducted Monday by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist. In July Democrats were likelier, by 10 percentage points, to say the November elections were “very important.” That gap has now narrowed to a statistical tie. “The result of the hearings, at least in the short run, is the Republican base was awakened,” Marist head Lee Miringoff told NPR.
The change is particularly striking when comparing women in the two parties. Of all the cohorts measured by the poll (including Independent men and women), Democratic women are the only group to display less enthusiasm for the midterms this week than they did in July. Meanwhile, Republican women seem invigorated. In July, 81 percent of Democratic women said the November elections were very important, compared to 71 percent of Republican women. Now, Republican women are 4 percentage points likelier to view the midterms that way (83 percent to 79 percent). That’s a 14-point swing in female voters’ interest in the midterms—after the hearings, and in Republicans’ favor.
But women’s rage is not a chorus performed in unison. Atlantic reporter Emma Green talked with about a dozen female conservative leaders across the country for a story this week that puts flesh on the Marist poll’s finding: that the Kavanaugh hearings have electrified conservative women too. “I’ve got women in my church who were not politically active at all who were incensed with this,” the chairwoman of the West Virginia Republican Party told Green. The Indiana state director for the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, Jodi Smith, told Green that “people in Indiana are angry.” In her view, the hearings are “one of the best things that could happen to us” as she looks forward to a hotly contested Senate election in the state in November.
The Democrats, by now, have to be aware this is happening. Much like the January shutdown fiasco, the Democrats’ plan doesn’t seem to have worked, and they are going to start scrambling for a way out of this hole they’ve dug for themselves as soon as possible with elections looming in just a month.
Social justice warrior overreach, in my opinion, played a major part in Trump’s victory in 2016. We’ll see if that story re-emerges in the 2018 November elections.