How Kavanaugh Has Shaken The Midterm Elections Kaleidoscope

Even at the ceremonial swearing-in of newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump took aim at the forces who opposed him.

Trump apologized to Kavanaugh for the “terrible pain and suffering” inflicted by sexual assault allegations during his confirmation battle. “Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception,” he said, declaring Kavanaugh “innocent” of the charges. "What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process.”

But a full-throated embrace of Kavanaugh and rejection of the women who made accusations against him — Trump called those who disseminated the allegations “evil” in remarks earlier Monday and previously told reporters in a press conference that the accusations he had faced made him skeptical of claims against Kavanaugh — risks turning off the suburban women who may determine which party controls the House.

Nevertheless, Kavanaugh seems to be paying immediate dividends in the red-state Senate races that give Republicans their best chance of defending and even expanding their majority in the upper chamber.

“Trump understood that if Kavanaugh was going to get confirmed, the buck stops with him and he has to take the reins to blast through the media gauntlet and the Democratic treachery,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Senate Republicans don’t seem to understand how to fight or the stakes for 2018. Trump decided to put Kavanaugh on his back and literally will his confirmation.”

Senate Republicans largely followed suit — only Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voted “present” — and have also echoed Trump’s criticism of the anti-Kavanaugh mob. Centrist Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, delivered the final blow.

“Trump knows he has the biggest megaphone among Republicans and that the various wings of the GOP trust his political nose, even when they don’t agree with his tactics,” O’Connell said.

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy