Prior to the wall-to-wall media coverage of now-Associate Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy 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.
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.
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 WatersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle Best shot at narrowing racial homeownership gap at risk, progressives say Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress looks to strengthen government's aging cyber infrastructure MORE (D-CA) and the fringe left, but leading Democrats as well.
Former Obama Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderArkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats Oregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group MORE says you have to “kick” Republicans. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief MORE asserts “you cannot be civil” with Republicans. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations 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 ObamaYouTube confirms it picked kids featured in Harris video Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Gears begin to shift in Congress on stalled Biden agenda 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 TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups 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.