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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 KavanaughMellman: The triumph of partisanship Pavlich: Where is Brett Kavanaugh’s apology? Trump tweets about Diwali, draws criticism for not mentioning Hindus in initial posts 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 WatersDem running for president says party misaligned with America Trump’s hard lesson for Republicans: Fight back Dems find easy target in Trump commerce chief MORE (D-CA) and the fringe left, but leading Democrats as well.

Former Obama Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPoll: Biden and Sanders lead 2020 Dem field, followed by Beto O'Rourke Trump's shortlist for attorney general takes shape Pipe bomb suspect to be held without bail MORE says you have to “kick” Republicans. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February What midterm exit polls tell us about 2020 MORE asserts “you cannot be civil” with Republicans. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSchumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress GOP pollster says Republicans could break with Trump on Saudi Arabia Overnight Defense: Trump says 15,000 troops could deploy to border | Mattis insists deployment is not 'stunt' | Pompeo calls for Yemen peace talks in November 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 ObamaBarack Obama promotes Michelle's memoir: It 'tells her quintessentially American story' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Amazon picks NYC, Northern Virginia for new offices | CNN suing Trump over Acosta press pass | Pelosi machine lobbies for Speakership Michelle Obama details incognito outings: 'I enjoyed glorious anonymity' 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 TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California 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.