McConnell Sees Electoral Dividends With Kavanaugh Victory; UPDATE: Also, We're Still Going To Try And Clip Manchin

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Posted: Oct 07, 2018 5:50 PM
McConnell Sees Electoral Dividends With Kavanaugh Victory; UPDATE: Also, We're Still Going To Try And Clip Manchin

In the end, Democrats, the Left, and other progressive sects have learned a lesson, even if they don’t realize it, you don’t mess with Cocaine Mitch. It was a brutal fight. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who President Trump had nominated to fill the vacancy left by Anthony Kennedy, was being eaten alive by the left-wing smear machine. He was facing three allegations of sexual misconduct that lacked in evidence or corroborating witnesses. It looked as if this fight was going to be a smooth win, but these allegations, dropped at the last minute, dragged us into the gutter. 

It was a knife fight—and we won. Period. While the Left is happy their base is animated, this unfair, brutal, and totally outrageous character assassination attempt against Judge Kavanaugh infuriated the GOP, especially scores of conservative female voters who saw right through the smear campaign. It was a double-edged sword: the more the Left tried to destroy Kavanaugh, the more jacked up the GOP base became. And it isn’t just Trump supporters, Bushies, Never Trumpers, every wing of the GOP united behind this man. McConnell made a note that this fight has done wonders to get Republicans enthused for the 2018 midterms (via WaPo):

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he never considered urging the White House to withdraw Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and called opposition to the judge a “great political gift” for Republicans ahead of next month’s midterm elections.

In an interview with The Washington Post hours before Kavanaugh’s near-certain confirmation on Saturday afternoon, the Kentucky Republican again underscored his confidence in Kavanaugh’s denials of allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago while decrying the protesters who have challenged senators for days.

“I never thought Judge Kavanaugh would withdraw,” McConnell said during the interview with The Post. “When your integrity is attacked like his was, a withdrawal was certainly no solution to that, so we were in the fight to the finish.” 

McConnell, overseeing a razor-thin 51-49 GOP majority, said the GOP is already seeing a boost in polling in Senate races because of the Democratic opposition to Kavanaugh combined with the protests. Republicans are on offense in the fight for control of the Senate, with 10 Democrats seeking reelection in states President Trump won in 2016.

“It’s been a great political gift for us. The tactics have energized our base,” he said, adding: “I want to thank the mob, because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base.”

He elaborated further with Roll Call:

“I think there’s no question that the tactics have energized our base like we were unable to do before this,” McConnell said. “Not only the tactics of the Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, but then those who literally have our members under assault I mean — they’ve come to our homes, they’ve you know basically brushed up against members.”

[…]

“The base is on fire. I was talking to several of my political advisers yesterday about what we’re seeing out in the red states is a dramatically rising interest,” McConnell said.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday indicated that the battle over Kavanaugh's nomination had helped close the enthusiasm gap.

Eighty-two percent of Democrats surveyed said the election was "very important" compared to 80 percent of Republicans. In July, the survey showed that 68 percent of Republicans deemed the election very important, compared to 78 percent of Democrats.

[…]

Democrats, of course, have the bulk of the incumbents in competitive Senate races on the 2018 map that are closely contested.

Ten Senate Democrats are running in states Trump won in 2016, but operatives on both sides agreed that at least two of them -- Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey -- are further out of reach for Republicans. 

Sen. Joe Manchin III was the only Democratic senator in a state Trump won by double digits who decided to support Kavanaugh. The others, including Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester on Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, opposed the judge for various reasons.  

The Kentucky Republican name-checked those four Democratic incumbents as having, “voted frankly quite foolishly on this issue given their own electoral prospects.”

Polling showed that Joe Manchin’s re-election would be all but assured if he voted for Kavanaugh. Overall, Red State Democrats were put in a terrible political positionin this nomination fight. They could vote for Kavanaugh, but risk the wrath of the progressive grassroots and loss of access to key Democratic campaign financing. And they could vote against him, but be forced to update their resumes because they would be out of a job come January. Claire McCaskill knows this all too well. 

On the Right’s flank, Arizona and Tennessee could be Democratic pick-ups, though I doubt how a rural, GOP state like Tennessee flips, but we’ll see. Missouri and Florida look like likely pick-ups for the GOP. If we hold the line in Tennessee, lose Arizona, and win in Missouri and Florida, we’re left with how the upper chamber started at the last Congress, 51-49. Still, a lot can change. The polling post-Kavanaugh has yet to be released. And in Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has been caught telling some tall tales about her upbringing. Stay tuned, but the fact remains that the GOP position is much better than in the House—though with the base energized, perhaps we could hold the line there. It would be a slim majority, but still a win—and one that would trigger another liberal meltdown. 

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UPDATE: Manchin may have voted with Republicans, but Mitch still plans to make a play to nab his seat:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans will still campaign against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) despite his being the only member of the opposing party who voted to approve now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

“Joe Manchin’s still a Democrat, and we’re trying to hold the majority,” the Kentucky Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked if he would tell President Donald Trump not to campaign against the red-state Democrat.

But McConnell said he appreciated Manchin’s vote, which he called “the right thing to do.”

Maybe Manchin should re-register as a Republican if he wins re-election, which he very well could, despite West Virginia being a deep-red state.