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 FlakePollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge Trump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Flake opens up about threats against him and his family 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 GrassleyOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost The 7 most interesting nuggets from the Mueller report Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy 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 GrahamJudiciary chairman issues subpoena for full Mueller report The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Barr to allow some lawmakers to review less-redacted Mueller report as soon as next week 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Overnight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage 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 HeitkampPro-trade groups enlist another ex-Dem lawmaker to push for Trump's NAFTA replacement Pro-trade group targets 4 lawmakers in push for new NAFTA Biden office highlights support from women after second accuser comes forward MORE of North Dakota, Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySome in GOP fear Buttigieg run for governor Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty GOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care MORE of Indiana, Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed Pro-life Christians are demanding pollution protections 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 ClintonGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Ex-FBI official: 'Links and coordination' with Russia happen everyday Ex-FBI agent: Americans should be 'disgusted' by Russian interference in Mueller report 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 LancePush for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems Incoming Dem lawmaker: Trump 'sympathizes' with leaders 'accused of moral transgressions' On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report 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 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority MORE (R-N.Y.) or Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanDenver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator 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 McSallyTrump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Gallego tapped as national campaign chairman for Swalwell presidential bid MORE (R-Ariz.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds 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 announces first endorsements in South Carolina Telehealth is calling — will Congress pick up? 2020 Dems call on Mueller to testify about redacted report 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. IsraelDemocrats should not allow Republicans to define them An uncertain view from Israel Is President Trump a relentless character on Game of Thrones? 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.