GOP sacrifices women and House Republicans with Kavanaugh plan

GOP sacrifices women and House Republicans with Kavanaugh plan
© Anna Moneymaker

In a trench during a battle, surrounded by advancing belligerents, who would I want at my side, fighting to the bitter end?

A.) Senator Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 Poll: Democrat Mark Kelly leads incumbent McSally in Arizona Senate race MORE (R-Ariz.), whose anguished soul searching on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh suggests a genuine desire to do the right thing but a seeming inability to thrust the spear?

B.) Senator Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads MORE (R-Iowa), who might want to protest the appalling lack of gentlemanly process and the violations of the country club rules of engagement as the enemy storms the breach? (Reality check: This was never about Senate committee process. It’s about whether a man with a potential lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court assaulted a woman and subsequently lied.)

C.) Senator Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump Roberts sworn in to preside over Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.), who might lull the opposition into the trench as a purring kitten, only to spring like a bloodthirsty lion?

D.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPoll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' Trump says impeachment trial should move 'very quickly' MORE (R-Ky.), whose “Party First” doctrine engineered opposition to President Obama at all costs and who now seems willing to sacrifice the House to save the Senate?

Not McConnell. None of us would survive that guy.

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The New York Times reported on Sunday that McConnell and the Republicans have decided to muscle through this confirmation. The theory is that it will energize the Republican base in tight Senate races, forcing red state Democrats like Senators Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSusan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same MORE of North Dakota, Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world MORE of Indiana, Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer Poll: West Virginia voters would view Manchin negatively if he votes to convict Trump Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE of West Virginia and others to choose between their already nuclear energized Democratic base and a freshly recharged Republican base.

But, by their own admission, the party leadership recognizes the strategy as likely to seal the fate of House Republicans with large concentrations of moderate suburban women, particularly in the 23 House Republican districts that were carried by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Vermont Governor: Sanders 'will play dirty' NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info New Hampshire state lawmaker switches support from Warren to Klobuchar MORE in the 2016 election.

One Democratic candidate, Tom Malinowski, was first to test the theory. His campaign released a digital ad against Republican incumbent Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGun debate to shape 2020 races GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Bottom Line MORE (R-N.J.) that featured the very words of Lance: “I think Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant judge and I tend not to believe the charges.” If you’re Congressman Lance or John FasoJohn James FasoThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads MORE (R-N.Y.) or Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R-Colo.), you probably see the writing on the wall. It’s written by angry women, and men like me, who are revolted by the callous and immediate position of Republicans to “not believe” the charges.

Even in the Senate, the McConnell strategy cuts both ways. Sure, it builds pressure on some Senate Democrats in deep red states. But it might also backfire on Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyWolf Blitzer: GOP senator should apologize for calling CNN reporter 'liberal hack' Martha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (R-Ariz.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerLobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report MORE (R-Nevada) and other Republican Senate candidates in purple states. But, really, should we care if House Republicans have become collateral damage in the McConnell strategy? What about the deep wounds we inflict on women? And justice?

You could see Judge Kavanaugh slashing away during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He went from stiff upper lip to curled upper lip, foaming at Democrats through a frat boy snarl, interrupting them, mocking them and even snapping in response to a question from Senator Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders says he's concerned about lost campaign time during impeachment trial Sanders touts vote against Trump trade deal backed by primary rivals New Hampshire state lawmaker switches support from Warren to Klobuchar MORE (D-Minn.), asking her if she ever blacked out from drinking.

The judicial temperament we expect from Supreme Court justices was unmasked, and what we saw was the hardwiring of those “Westworld” robots run amuck. How could anyone expect fair treatment from Judge Kavanaugh on any Supreme Court case involving political issues such as voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and more? I had the eerie sense that he’d replace the “Equal Justice Under the Law” engraving above the court’s doors with “What Goes Around Comes Around.”

Brett Kavanaugh may be on the ballot in the midterm elections. We’ll see then whether McConnell’s trench warfare strategy worked. But this is about so much more. It extends far beyond 2018 and plumbs to a deeper level. This is about the ability of Judge Kavanaugh to dispense justice wisely and fairly over a lifetime on the bench. It’s about how a society addresses the trauma of women that is caused by sexual assault. It’s about the message we send not just to our daughters, but to our sons.

This isn’t about political trench warfare. It’s about in what kind of country my two adult daughters live their lives and raise their families. I won’t allow them to become collateral damage in Mitch McConnell’s midterm turnout model. I’ll fight like hell for them. I’ll protect them first. Will you?

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelWith surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Pelosi and Schumer were right with the strategy to delay impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Deescalation: US-Iran conflict eases MORE represented New York in Congress for 16 years. He served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is a novelist whose latest book is “Big Guns.” You can follow him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael and on Facebook @RepSteveIsrael.