This evening we’ve seen one increasingly horrifying accusation surface after another about Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez accused him of sexual misconduct at a party. Then Michael Avenatti announced that he has multiple witnesses who want to testify that Kavanaugh participated in several gang rapes. Behind the scenes, the political landscape has been shifting tonight, and things have been thrown into chaos.
From a strictly political standpoint, it’s not difficult to parse why this evening’s developments have changed things. Back when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was still the only accuser to have gone public, the fate of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation was going to depend on how believable and compelling the general public ended up finding the testimony of Ford and Kavanaugh. If Ford were to trip up and discredit herself, it would have cleared a path for the fence-sitting Republican Senators to vote for Kavanaugh and potentially avoid damaging their own careers. But it’s a different equation now.
Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is now in “serious doubt” according to Politico. Someone involved with the GOP Senate is saying that the rest of the party is now waiting to hear from Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker as to whether or not confirming Kavanaugh is still possible. If two or more of them are ready to cut bait, then the nomination is dead.
If people like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were to vote “yes” after all of this, they would end up having to answer for why they chose to disbelieve or ignore Ford, Ramirez, and the multiple Avenatti witnesses. There would be no way for them to even try to spin it, and they’d face little chance of being reelected. Collins and Murkowski have shown a willingness to vote against their own party’s interests, when it’s suited their own personal political interests. We’ll see what they do now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report