My wife, Jan, could be described politically as a weak Republican moderate. Like many women, she has no use for Donald Trump.
She greatly dislikes his tone and demeanor, his pomposity, his braggadocio, his sarcasm, his name-calling, and his treatment of women.
By contrast, I have problems with Trump for the same reasons as Jan, but I also happen to like many of his policies and I like the overall direction of the country. I think Trump has accomplished some very good things in less than two years.
So that brings us to the Brett Kavanaugh nomination and the bruising confirmation battle. By the time it was over, Jan – the moderate – was thoroughly disgusted with the way the judge was treated. She thought the Democrats were disingenuous, unfair, highly political, and felt they were trying to destroy a good man.
While sympathizing with Christine Blasey Ford, she thought the accusations needed more corroboration to pin them on Kavanaugh. She thought the Democrats exploited Ford because they didn’t quickly confidentially investigate her accusations, waiting six weeks until all the hearings, individual meetings and FBI investigation were over. She was disgusted with the other wild and unsubstantiated accusations against Kavanaugh. She was pleased that he was finally confirmed.
If Jan reflects the attitudes of a goodly number of other moderate women, it could mean trouble for the Democrats in November. The Kavanaugh saga has tended to unify traditional Reagan/Bush Republicans with Trump-base Republicans and fired them up for the election.
Some Democrats in Congress aren’t helping themselves by saying they will try to impeach Kavanaugh if they take over the House. That gives all stripes of Republicans a reason to vote against all Democrats, even those they may like personally, if they feel the Democratic politics of personal destruction are going to continue.
The mid-term elections had already been highly nationalized for Trump’s base and for Trump-hating Democrats. The Kavanaugh episode may have nationalized the election for traditional Republicans, to the detriment of Democratic candidates.
It’s hard to know if the current Republican energy will continue up to the election. Trump is fully capable of saying and doing dumb things that will turn off moderate Republicans. But, for now, the Republican Party has not been so unified in a long time.
In 1968, when CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite suggested that America cease fighting the Vietnam War, Pres. Lyndon Johnson said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”
If the Democrats have lost a significant number of moderate women, they’ve also lost middle America.