At the very least, the coming weeks will produce one of the fiercest Supreme Court fights in U.S. history. And if Democrats somehow succeed in sinking Kavanaugh — or even delaying his confirmation vote until after November’s midterm election, in which they could regain control of the Senate — #StopKavanaugh may become the most consequential act of anti-Trump resistance to date.
Certainly, congressional Democrats are far more energized than they were in 2017, when Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. “We are in the fight of our lives,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, at the rally outside the Supreme Court. Like the other speakers, she was sometimes drowned out by the raucous crowd, which included at least one anti-abortion activist with a loudspeaker or megaphone. He was, for the most part, drowned out himself.
The particulars of that fight remain unclear, but one way or another, Democrats will need 51 votes in the Senate. They will only muster those votes if they can keep their own caucus together, which will involve making sure that Senators from states Trump won — in particular, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana — don’t decide that Kavanaugh is a palatable nominee. To ensure that, Democrats and the liberal base will do everything they can to paint Kavanaugh as an extremist activist who would curb the rights of women and organized labor, while potentially protecting Trump from a possible indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. They will then have to hope to persuade Murkowski and Collins to join them in opposing Kavanaugh. They can also try to wait until the November midterms, though Democrats’ chances of regaining the Senate are not seen as especially good.
Tuesday evening saw liberal groups beginning to organize their opposition to Kavanaugh. “We can’t stop a vote. If McConnell gets the number that he needs, if he gets 51 votes, he will have it and he will confirm a Trump pick,” Angel Padilla, policy director at Indivisible, told Yahoo News. “So, the only thing that we can do in the short term is stop Republicans from getting 51 votes, so that’s what we’re focusing on.”
Minutes after the president’s announcement, stopkavanaugh.com launched, a project by Demand Justice, a progressive organization founded earlier this year. The website highlights Kavanaugh’s views on presidential indictment, the Affordable Care Act and Roe.