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 Kavanaugh5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony MSNBC anchor speculates Trump has something 'pretty extreme' on Graham Five things to watch during Barr’s confirmation hearing 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: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Maxine Waters meets with CBS News representatives over lack of black 2020 reporters Ocasio-Cortez to join House panel overseeing financial sector MORE (D-CA) and the fringe left, but leading Democrats as well.

Former Obama Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderProtecting voices of all voters is critical to free and fair elections Castro to headline forum in New Hampshire after announcing 2020 decision New Jersey governor calls for redistricting reform MORE says you have to “kick” Republicans. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTexas man indicted over allegations he created fraudulent campaign PACs FISA shocker: DOJ official warned Steele dossier was connected to Clinton, might be biased Pompeo’s Cairo speech more ‘back to the future’ than break with past MORE asserts “you cannot be civil” with Republicans. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Congress can stop the war on science Media fails spectacularly at smearing Rand Paul for surgery in Canada 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 ObamaMichelle Obama memoir has longest run as Amazon's best-seller since 'Fifty Shades of Gray' Man who killed teenager who performed at Obama inauguration sentenced to 84 years in prison December sales cement best-seller status for Michelle Obama's book: report 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 TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles 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.