If there's a 'Kavanaugh bounce' in the midterms, which direction will it go?

If there's a 'Kavanaugh bounce' in the midterms, which direction will it go?

President Trump listens as Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks during ceremony swearing him in as associate justice of the Supreme Court in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Monday. Kavanaugh is accompanied by his wife, Ashley Kavanaugh, right, and his children: Margaret, to his right, and Liza. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

WASHINGTON — Much as he did in 2016, when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape seemed to doom his chances at the White House, Donald Trump is seeking to turn allegations of sexual misconduct into an electoral advantage.

Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh — accused by Christine Blasey Ford and other women of sexual assault — to stoke Republican enthusiasm in the battle for Capitol Hill. Even as polls continue to show that Ford was seen as more credible than Kavanaugh, Trump and many other Republicans believe that conservatives were galvanized by the successful nomination battle, in particular by what many on the right believe to have been Democrats’ overreach in painting Kavanaugh as a booze-fueled sexual transgressor.’ data-reactid=”41″>Now the midterm elections loom, and Trump is trying something similar, this time by attempting to use the fight over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh — accused by Christine Blasey Ford and other women of sexual assault — to stoke Republican enthusiasm in the battle for Capitol Hill. Even as polls continue to show that Ford was seen as more credible than Kavanaugh, Trump and many other Republicans believe that conservatives were galvanized by the successful nomination battle, in particular by what many on the right believe to have been Democrats’ overreach in painting Kavanaugh as a booze-fueled sexual transgressor.

tipping definitively to the right. Others pointed to a closing gap in the generic ballot, which simply asks respondents whether they would vote for a Republican or Democratic candidate, though it was not clear that any such narrowing was related to the contentious Kavanaugh confirmation process, which quickly went from discussion about Madison v. Marbury to rancorous debates about “ralphing” and “boofing.”’ data-reactid=”44″>“We’ve seen an increase in Republican enthusiasm,” says Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster. “The real question is whether it lasts.” Evidence of a so-called “Kavanaugh bounce” for Republicans began to appear in the days before Saturday’s confirmation vote, with polls indicating that several previously close Senate races were tipping definitively to the right. Others pointed to a closing gap in the generic ballot, which simply asks respondents whether they would vote for a Republican or Democratic candidate, though it was not clear that any such narrowing was related to the contentious Kavanaugh confirmation process, which quickly went from discussion about Madison v. Marbury to rancorous debates about “ralphing” and “boofing.”

President Trump gestures at last week’s rally in Southaven, Miss. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

described the event as “a cross between a campaign rally and a wedding reception.”’ data-reactid=”59″>The previous night, he hosted a starkly political ceremonial swearing-in for Kavanaugh in which he incorrectly stated that Kavanaugh had been proven “innocent.” He also apologized for Kavanaugh’s treatment on behalf of the entire nation, a bold move considering that the majority of Americans did not want to see Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. The Washington Post described the event as “a cross between a campaign rally and a wedding reception.”

“The president is blatantly making this about white male victimhood,” says Michael Steele, the former head of the Republican National Committee. By branding the accusations against Kavanaugh a “hoax,” while lamenting the injustice done to the judge, Trump is “grinding into women’s faces what Republicans did and how they did it,” says Steele. He believes that women “agitated” by Trump’s handling of the Kavanaugh confirmation — by turns triumphant, conspiratorial and self-pitying — will lead to the mythical “blue wave” that some predict is in store for Democrats.

this one from Politico/Morning Consult — found that 46 percent of respondents thought it “wrong” to have confirmed Kavanaugh to the high court. And while 77 percent of Democrats were “energized” by the Kavanaugh contest, only 68 percent of Republicans shared the same sentiment despite having emerged victorious. Perhaps that isn’t entirely surprising, given that defeat tends to be a greater motivator than victory.’ data-reactid=”62″>Another poll — this one from Politico/Morning Consult — found that 46 percent of respondents thought it “wrong” to have confirmed Kavanaugh to the high court. And while 77 percent of Democrats were “energized” by the Kavanaugh contest, only 68 percent of Republicans shared the same sentiment despite having emerged victorious. Perhaps that isn’t entirely surprising, given that defeat tends to be a greater motivator than victory.

“The 202 wing of the GOP convinced themselves the country would be as angry as them about Kavanaugh,” says Republican strategist John Weaver, alluding to the area code for Washington, D.C. “Well, they were right. But in the wrong direction. We’re looking at the largest gender gap in modern history against Republicans, with women powering a huge tsunami of anger at the GOP.”

Progressives agree with that assessment. Despite having lost the Kavanaugh fight — he was confirmed by the narrowest margin in the history of the Supreme Court — they say that it is their base that has been motivated.

“Both sides are looking to draw lines and spin this fight the way they want. We can definitely say this: This fight has energized our local Indivisible leaders and the grassroots,” says Maria Urbina, national political director of the Indivisible Project, which supports progressive candidates for elected office. “We know that women are leading this movement across red, blue and purple districts, especially in suburban districts, and their power and anger has no limit.”

Data provided to Yahoo News by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives, shows that contributions rose dramatically in the last week of September, when the Kavanaugh nomination battle reached its crescendo. Polling compiled by the DCCC suggests, in particular, enthusiasm about several races in Illinois where Democrats are either leading or gaining ground.

“In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, Republicans will claim without real, sustainable metrics that their enthusiasm has increased,” says DCCC spokesman Tyler Law, “while national polls show actual evidence of enthusiasm skyrocketing for Democrats amongst women, millennials and others.”

Jennifer Wexton waves to the crowd in Leesburg, Va., as she participates in the Leesburg Independence Day Parade on July 4, 2018. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Among the progressive women hoping to win a seat in Congress is Jennifer Wexton, who running in a Northern Virginia district that in recent years has shed its reputation as a Republican redoubt. Her challenger, the Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, is friends with Kavanaugh and remained a supporter of his nomination even as charges of sexual assault were levelled against him.

“We were all over Virginia’s 10th District this weekend and everywhere we went we met women (and more than a few men) who were furious over Barbara Comstock’s silence about allegations against her old friend Brett Kavanaugh,” Wexton campaign spokesman Aaron Fritschner wrote in an email, two days after Kavanaugh’s confirmation from the Senate. “They are turning that anger into energy, which we’ve seen reflected in a huge spike in volunteers to knock on doors for Jennifer Wexton,” Fritschner added.

“This is a big deal to voters here. You can feel it.”

The question, of course, is whether Democratic outrage will prevail, or whether Trump’s campaign rallies, with their gloating and dark warnings about liberals, will awaken a lethargic Republican base. Those questions will be answered in 27 days. Until then, both parties will have Brett Kavanaugh to kick around as the perfect symbol of their grievances.

 

 

The Kavanaugh controversy has become a major issue in the North Dakota senate race. Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is running a strong campaign but it might not be enough to prevail against Republican challenger Kevin Cramer, who currently represents the state’s only congressional district.

The Cook Political Report characterized this race as one of only four Democratic-held seats that are toss-ups — the others being Sens. Bill Nelson’s in Florida, Joe Donnelly’s in Indiana and Claire McCaskill’s in Missouri.

More and more, the race is looking like a referendum on the #MeToo movement and national coverage has focused on each candidate’s opinion on Kavanaugh. Heitkamp voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation and Cramer has made a series of extemporaneous comments defending Kavanaugh that have inflamed liberals.

Heitkamp’s team released a campaign ad explaining why she voted against Kavanaugh, making the confirmation vote even more central to the race. North Dakota’s other senator, Republican John Hoeven, voted to seat Kavanaugh, describing him as “a fair and impartial jurist with deep respect for the Constitution.”’ data-reactid=”115″>On Sunday, Heitkamp’s team released a campaign ad explaining why she voted against Kavanaugh, making the confirmation vote even more central to the race. North Dakota’s other senator, Republican John Hoeven, voted to seat Kavanaugh, describing him as “a fair and impartial jurist with deep respect for the Constitution.

“Honestly, I don’t think he told the truth. And even if he did, he showed himself too biased to be impartial,” Heitkamp said in the video. “I voted for Neil Gorsuch so I know there are many other conservative judges who can fill this job without tearing our country apart.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissent, joined by Justice Elena Kagan.’ data-reactid=”119″>But last month, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals placed a hold on that order, which in turn was appealed to the Supreme Court. The request for an emergency hearing was denied without explanation. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissent, joined by Justice Elena Kagan.

“Reasonable voters may well assume that the IDs allowing them to vote in the primary election would remain valid in the general election. If the Eighth Circuit’s stay is not vacated, the risk of disfranchisement is large,” Ginsburg wrote.

Kavanaugh took no part in the decision.

 

Buzzfeed News that 65,000 people registered to vote in the 24 hours that followed Swift’s post. Registrations also shot up in Swift’s home state.’ data-reactid=”138″>Kamari Guthrie, the director of communications for Vote.org, told Buzzfeed News that 65,000 people registered to vote in the 24 hours that followed Swift’s post. Registrations also shot up in Swift’s home state.

According to Guthrie, 5,183 people registered to vote in Tennessee so far in October and that at least 2,144 were since Swift’s post. There were only 2,811 new voter registrations in September in only 951 in August.

Hurricane Michael may swamp the efforts of both candidates, with unpredictable results.’ data-reactid=”143″>Florida Gov. Rick Scott has greatly outspent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the race for Nelson’s Senate seat, but Hurricane Michael may swamp the efforts of both candidates, with unpredictable results.

The Cook Political Report currently rates the Senate race a toss-up so any new variable could tilt the odds in either candidate’s favor. Scott has raised $31,126,698 for his campaign, to $19,720,053 by Nelson.

Florida Governor Rick Scott leads a Hurricane Michael press briefing on October 10, 2018. (Photo: Office of the Governor via Twitter)” data-reactid=”153″>Florida Governor Rick Scott leads a Hurricane Michael press briefing on October 10, 2018. (Photo: Office of the Governor via Twitter)

120,000 people along the state’s panhandle have been ordered to evacuate.’ data-reactid=”155″>Michael strengthened to a powerful Category 4 overnight Tuesday night as it approached Florida’s northeast Gulf Coast and an estimated 120,000 people along the state’s panhandle have been ordered to evacuate.

Gallup‘ data-reactid=”162″>Right track/wrong track: Gallup

Cook Political Report‘ data-reactid=”164″>At-risk seats in Senate: Cook Political Report

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