No, the title doesn’t refer to the tardiness of this week’s open thread. I had no time to prepare it on Saturday, since we were hosting a very special birthday party for one of my sisters. And then, of course, I had to sleep off all the booze.
Instead, it’s about Kavanaugh and his long-delayed confirmation. Because that’s all we’ve been talking about for weeks. Here’s to the last Kavanaugh post! I hope so, anyway.
In a way, it’s been the perfect story for everything surrounding American politics and culture since 2016. You’ve had the fierce political division, the #MeToo Effect, the cloud of an FBI investigation against a public figure, the urgency of saving SCOTUS seats, and Trump himself. If only Russian trolls had gotten more involved and we’d have it all. They were too busy ruining the Star Wars franchise, or some shit.
Because of how perfectly the Kavanaugh nomination expressed what is at stake in the midterms, and how much it dominated news coverage, the American public is as engaged as it possibly could be with high voter enthusiasm. In theory, I think a high degree of engagement is a good thing. It’s good to see Americans being civic-minded.
Problem is that these aren’t largely well-informed or well-meaning people. They’re each getting half the story from their preferred news outlets. They’re enraged at each other, not simply the politicians they’re planning to vote against. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen such a thing as “rage voting” by both sides at once in a national election but this seems to be it.
For some time last year, I had believed that maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing if the Democrats took over at least one house of Congress. They would have had a stake in government again, which might lead them to start behaving rationally for the first time in two years. They could also force Trump to compromise and this could bring about some positive bipartisan legislation, if both have the wisdom to try.
Post-Kavanaugh, I don’t feel that way anymore. The behavior of the Senate Democrats and their activists over Kavanaugh and other events has driven that notion out of my head in terror. I don’t think they want to work within our institutions anymore. They’re willing to break them if it means “stopping Trump”, and they’ll personally ruin the life of anyone if it is useful to do so, no matter how unlikely it is to succeed.
From the perspective of national Democrats, I suppose what was done to Kavanaugh looked rational to them. They demonstrated that they’ll fight and kept themselves from being primaried while also boosting fundraising. However, they also needlessly agitated and animated GOP voters for the effort and guaranteed the demise several red-state Senate Democrats. They’ve made it even worse by vowing to investigate and impeach Kavanaugh after they win the House back, further motivating Republicans to stop them.
It was needless because Kavanaugh’s confirmation shouldn’t have been a life-or-death issue for Democrats. They were bound to lose since there is a Republican president and Senate majority, and the Democrats had already stupidly triggered the Senate Majority Leader to eliminate the filibuster during their last totally needless struggle against a Trump nominee. They didn’t have any real options and could have simply voted “no” without making out the replacement of a Republican Justice with another Republican Justice to be the End of All Things.
Not only did they fail to keep the seat open, but they’ve assured that Senate Republicans will show no mercy to fill future seats with any conservative jurist they want and won’t be dissuaded. There are no parliamentary tricks they can use nor are there any baseless smears that will work.
Democrats made a disagreement into a battle, disgracefully took it into the gutter, lost, and now have the shame of lying beaten in that gutter. It was totally self-inflicted and pointless. They keep repeating the same mistakes. They get angry, wage unnecessary fights, lose, and then become angrier. Thus repeating the cycle.
Winning the Senate majority isn’t happening for the Democrats, nor should it. They don’t deserve it after what they’ve done to the Senate and Justice Kavanaugh.
PS: CMNZ reported that he was having some trouble posting comments in recent weeks. If you’ve been experiencing any site problems, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see if zoom or I can get it fixed.