Brett Kavanaugh is no longer a mere Supreme Court nominee.
His name is now a veritable conservative cause — one that has united the right for the first time since the 2016 primary sent Republicans quarreling over Trump and Never Trump.
Whatever the outcome of the immediate contest, it’s increasingly clear that Democrats and the media establishment made an enormous miscalculation by waging total war against Kavanaugh and his family.
Liberals set out to cast the federal judge — amiable, well-credentialed, mildly conservative — as a demon.
In the process, they have reminded GOP voters and all but the most stubborn Never Trump intellectuals that there are worse things than Donald Trump’s outbursts and the ineptitude of congressional Republicans.
Whatever disputes we have on our own side, the thinking on the right now goes, we have to set them aside and stop a politics of personal destruction, fueled by a moral panic and an uncritical mainstream media that sees itself as an adjunct of the anti-Trump resistance.
These forces have combined to turn Kavanaugh into a folk hero, a stand-in for every American who has found himself falsely accused, or railroaded by malicious hearsay, or facing an unfeeling bureaucracy that treats juvenile missteps as unforgivable sins.
Democrats insist they’re merely seeking to smoke out a potential predator who wants a lifetime gig on the high court. But they’ll find few right-of-center voters and, I suspect, independents willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Any reservoir of trust that existed leaked out under the press of the left’s blatantly underhanded moves and violations of norms.
I’ve written in these pages about a rigged process that began with a secret and (initially) anonymous allegation, kept hidden from Kavanaugh and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee until the 11th hour, when the judge was poised to be confirmed and it was too late to properly investigate.
And though Kavanaugh had already passed six FBI background checks, Democrats insisted on yet another FBI probe before he could clear his name.
Then the media piled on.
An allegation about Kavanaugh exposing himself to a Yale classmate, Deborah Ramirez, appeared in The New Yorker, famous for its painstaking fact-checks, though it was corroborated firsthand by exactly zero witnesses.
“The magazine contacted several dozen classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh regarding the incident,” the authors conceded. “Many did not respond to interview requests; others declined to comment, or said they did not attend or remember the party.”
So why publish the claim?
Worse, Michael Avenatti tweeted a declaration from a woman who claimed to have attended at least 10 parties where the punch was spiked and boys lined up in “train” gangs to rape young women.
The document vaguely implicated the judge in these Caligula-style horrors, senators interrogated Kavanaugh about them — and the media ate it all up. A few days later, Avenatti’s client, Julie Swetnick, went on national TV and her claims collapsed in real-time.
Meanwhile, the original accusation of high school sexual assault remains as uncorroborated and unsubstantiated as it was the first day it was lodged.
Last week’s Senate hearing revealed serious gaps and contradictions in Christine Blasey Ford’s account, and soon the entire Democratic-media complex shifted the goal post.
Now the concern was Kavanaugh’s temper, which he was expected to suppress even as senators accused him of organizing mass rapes like some African warlord.
Oh, and there was also a drunken college brawl at which Kavanaugh threw . . . ice. That story, published in the New York Times, was co-written by a fellow Yale alum who had declared her undying opposition to his nomination on July 9 — the day it was announced.
The result of all this: Republicans are now more fired up about the November midterm elections than Democrats.
NPR reported Wednesday: “In July, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans saying the November elections were ‘very important.’ Now, that is down to 2 points, a statistical tie.”
Good. Let the folk ballad of Brett Kavanaugh be a warning to the liberal establishment the next time they’re tempted to go this far, this low.