I have all but resigned myself to Brett Kavanaugh being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that, there’s not much w can do. Really, at this point, the only possibility of even delaying his vote and ultimate confirmation by the Senate is massive, spontaneous protests across the country this weekend.
And even that is kind of tricky. The Senate could very well vote on Saturday and that would make even protests problematic. Whatever was done would have to be done immediately and massively. How you would actually pull something like that off, I can only begin to imagine. I think Move On is planning on some sort of protest today, Friday, Sept. 28th, but I doubt it will be enough.
The fix is in and Senate Republicans simply don’t care. They’ve done a cost benefit analysis and they’re willing to take any short term pain as long as they get the long-term reward of a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court for the next 30 years. That’s their political calculus and, really, it’s difficult to refute. The American Constitutional system is so broken at this point that we’re careening towards a scenario where the entire system freezes up and there is a real risk of very unfortunate violence.
How that would play out, exactly, I don’t dare begin to attempt to fathom.
But honestly, this has been building for several years now and the systemic, structural reasons why this was inevitable in some respects are too tragic to recount. Regardless, immediately, at least, while the Republicans are going to get what they want for their long term, strategic goals, things may get a little bumpy a little bit longer down the road.
There’s a decent chance that there might be a little bit of an uptick in support for The Resistance at part of the 2018 mid-terms because of all of this, and yet maybe not. It all boils down to women. If women are collectively repulsed at how all of this was handled, there might be some consequences for Republicans. And, yet, if there was any sort of Blue Wave, Trump will claim the election was hacked by the Chinese and actively work to discredit the results for the rest of his time in office. This is a perfect way for him to dispute his impeachment and even conviction should that occur.
So that’s where things stand. We’re heading towards a little bit of a bumpy ride in the next few days, but Republicans are so craven — and Democrats so reluctant to play by the “new rules” that Republicans have established — that barring something pretty astonishing (like massive nation-wide protests) I just don’t see Dr. Ford getting something as basic as an FBI investigation. This is yet another step towards the United States being a quasi-autocratic state.
The main problem is there are long term societal trends playing out right now and so while we can quibble about the details and timing of how all of this plays out, long term (or at least for the next 20 years until the youngest of the Baby Boomers finally begin to die off) the Republicans will continue to have the upper hand. They are well on their way to completely transforming the Judiciary and by the time the process is over, it will take decades for the pendulum to begin to swing by the other direction.
I say this with the following caveat — Trump is really bad at being president. So bad, in fact, that while he will probably be pretty successful discrediting any Blue Wave among his base, at least in the short term of the next two years, a Blue Wave would unleash a Pandora’s Box with no obvious end game. But it’s something that would have to be done if there is any hope of saving the Republic. We have to have a check, any check on Trump’s creeping tyranny. I’m prepared to let slip the dogs of chaos in the guise of a Democratic Congress if that’s the only way to reign in Trump’s — and the Republicans’ — bloodthirsty quest for power.
What I’m trying to say, I guess, is there are historic trends that aren’t going away. The Republicans are, in general, going to only grow more powerful over the course of the next 20 odd years before demographics slowly begin to chip away at their blood supply of old codgers. But they believe that if they make it as difficult as possible to vote while transforming the Judiciary into their partisan fiefdom that they potentially moot even that.
Really, though, if we could somehow organize protests, like, now, we might have a chance at something pretty historic. But I just don’t see that happening. I wish it would happen, but it won’t.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.