Brett Kavanaugh will serve as the bellwether that will make clear how much corruption the majority party is willing to exhibit in front of the American people. Having already corrupted the Executive branch with Donald Trump’s nomination—himself a serial propagator of sexual assault—the Republican leadership now seeks to damage the authority and legitimacy of this nation’s highest court.
Because of the allegations brought forward by Professor Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, Kavanaugh’s path to the Supreme Court has hit an unwelcomed roadblock thanks to the nagging conscience of Arizona Republican senator, Jeff Flake, who voted to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination on the condition that an FBI investigation be conducted regarding Kavanaugh’s behavior. (Interestingly, Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins also came out in support of an FBI investigation after Flake’s announcement—funny how some people step forward after the courage of an initial person; that doesn’t at all reflect the snowballing effect we periodically witness as a result of the #metoo movement. /sarcasm).
The Republican majority, namely its leader, Mitch McConnell himself, has inadvertently dug itself into quite the problematic hole. They, with the blessing of The Don, approved an FBI investigation, but have announced that they will move forward with a vote even if the investigation was not over. The approval of an investigation, then, is little more than a facile gesture in response to Professor Ford’s testimony, akin to saying, “Okay, we heard you and we’ll look into it, but we’re in a bit of a time crunch. I’m sure you understand.”
I fear that the Republican leadership is so short-sighted they didn’t account for what will be the Democrats’ obvious objection to a vote before the investigation’s conclusion: the confirmation is a sham; the investigation was additional theater; Kavanaugh is an illegitimate candidate. Worse, I fear that I may be right given the fact that Republicans swallowed, and swallowed hard, the idea of Trump as their standard-bearer. Remember, despite multiple objections from sitting members, rumblings from prominent Republicans in the public sphere, and lost endorsements, Trump was never disavowed because he had to win, no matter the cost—amazingly, he has been embraced, at times praised, though usually excused.
Kavanaugh, too, will be excused if a vote proceeds. The #metoo movement may have influence in the corporate and entertainment spheres, but it’s not clear that it applies in the same way to the political one, with the exception of former senator Al Franken. In an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll, NPR reported the following: “A majority of Republicans (54 percent) say they think Kavanaugh should be confirmed regardless of whether Ford’s allegations are true…” (emphasis mine).
To solve a problem, it first needs to be diagnosed. Our problem, currently, is that facts don’t seem to matter. For the Republican majority, expediency has been their driving factor, first with Trump, now with Kavanaugh. That mindset seems to have transferred over to their electorate and we are left with questionable, if not persuasively unqualified, candidates in the highest offices of the nation. If Kavanaugh is approved before the FBI’s investigation is concluded, we will have a perverse appreciation for his behavior, past and present, and his bullish intention to stay in the running, for he will have further exposed the depths of depravity to which power is willing to throw itself into.
Professor Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, and all other survivors of sexual assault, meanwhile, will have to continue seeking an explanation for how such a man is confirmed. For that, Trump serves a useful role—and control by any means necessary, an instructive guide.