Kavanaugh fight a GOP wake up call, but more is needed

Kavanaugh fight a GOP wake up call, but more is needed
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Prior to the wall-to-wall media coverage of now-Associate Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughTrump urged to hire chief strategist for impeachment fight Anita Hill: Kavanaugh's confirmation filled me with 'profound sadness and disappointment' Majority disapprove of Trump Supreme Court nominations, says poll MORE’s confirmation, there was a real chance that Democrats could capture control of both the House and the Senate.

Now the blue team is all but locked out of taking back the Senate.

Why? Simply put, self-identified Republican voters as well as Trump voters were complacent. They didn’t believe anything was at stake in this upcoming election nor did a majority of them think that Democrats were all that likely to win back the House, according to a Republican National Committee internal poll.

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The Democrats’ politically motivated smear campaign against Brett Kavanaugh changed all of that. It was a wake up call for Republicans. In July of 2018, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans who said the 2018 midterms were “very important.” Now, that enthusiasm gap has been whittled down to just two points, because a larger share of Republicans has become energized.

What is also heartening for the Grand Old Party is that independents by a 28-point margin disapprove of the Democrats’ handling of the Kavanaugh nomination.

With a little more than three weeks to go, the Republicans can’t just rest on their Kavanaugh and economic laurels. There is still a significant amount of ground that has to be made up if they are to have any chance of holding onto control of the House even if by only a sliver.

Some prognosticators believe that Democrats are currently within a dozen seats of re-taking the House. And Republican allies are not shy about which specific House seats are in danger.

So what is it that Republicans have to do in the remaining days to stave off the Democrats in the House? Aside from praying for an electoral miracle, they need to remind voters, particularly independents, that the Kavanaugh saga is not a one-off but a sign of things to come from the Democrats.

On the campaign trail, Democrats are espousing violence and intimidation. They are no longer just dog whistling; they are flat-out telling supporters to take up these abhorrent tactics. And this is not just the domain of Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing finance plan | Dems jump into Trump turf war over student loans | House passes bill targeting anonymous shell companies House passes bill taking aim at anonymous shell companies Avoiding the snake in the grass: Let's not allow impeachment to divide us MORE (D-CA) and the fringe left, but leading Democrats as well.

Former Obama Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderSupreme Court throws out challenge to Michigan electoral map Amash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials We can't allow presidents and public opinion to further diminish the work of the press MORE says you have to “kick” Republicans. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump 'lynching' firestorm is sign of things to come Hillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Nielsen on leaving Trump administration: 'Saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough' MORE asserts “you cannot be civil” with Republicans. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Democrats to hold caucus meeting Wednesday with ex-ISIS envoy Partisan squabbles endanger congressional response to Trump's course on Syria Paul blocks vote on House-passed Syria resolution for second time MORE (R-KY) is not that far off when he says, “I really worry that someone is going to be killed.”

So much for taking the high road when Democrats don’t get their way as former First Lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaHillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Singer Maggie Rogers speaks out after she was sexually harassed onstage Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances' MORE once advocated. It is all about going to straight to the gutter for the new Democratic Party.

Further, this won’t end once the elections are over. Should Democrats re-take the House, they are not interested in just serving as a check on President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE with the hopes of ultimately defeating him at the ballot-box in 2020, they want to annihilate him now and they don’t care if it wrecks the country in the process.

Impeaching Trump is just the tip of the iceberg. They will re-litigate Kavanaugh, and they will launch so many Congressional investigations that it could be bring the economy and the country to a grinding halt.

It is paramount for Republican candidates in at-risk House seats to remind voters that Democrats are only concerned with one thing – recapturing political power, and that despite what they currently say, they don’t care who gets hurt in the process, even if it means destroying the country. If Republicans are able to effectively convey this message over the remaining few weeks, they just might have an outside chance of holding the House.

Ford O'Connell served as director of rural outreach for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign; he runs a political consulting business, is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, and is a regular commentator on FOX Business. He has also appeared on CNN. Follow him on Twitter @FordOConnell.