by Noemie Emery · October 9, 2018
Just in time for the last lap of the 2018 midterm elections, the Kavanaugh fiasco has united the post-Trump Republican Party like nothing before it.
Suddenly, President Trump and former President George W. Bush were pulling for the same candidate. Suddenly, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, and Jeff Flake of Arizona are conservative heroes, having proven themselves friends in need.
Suddenly, long-term “Never Trumpers,” to their surprise and astonishment, have a strange new respect for their commander in chief. “For the first time since Donald Trump entered the political fray, I find myself grateful that he’s in it,” Bret Stephens wrote in the New York Times on Oct. 4. “I’m reluctant to admit it and astonished to say it. … I’m grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by the opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination … I’m grateful because he’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger … I’m grateful because ferocious and even crass obstinacy has its uses in life.”
But step back and ask yourself just why the Never Trumpers disliked Trump in the first place in 2016, and some of the answers begin to emerge. He seemed vulgar and crass and authoritarian. The aura of violence seemed to hang over his rallies. He seemed eager to overturn settled norms.
But in the battle for Kavanaugh, it was the Democrats, the feminists, and the Left who seemed crass and vulgar and eager to overturn norms. They were truly hysterical and utterly discarded the idea that guilt has to be proven, or at least some evidence given, savaging those who referred back to this mainstay principle of the Constitution and the common law.
In the course of the war, Republican lawmakers were harassed, stalked, and threatened, and threats were made on their children and their lives. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife were chased from a Washington restaurant, which had to hire security. In the eye of the storm, Collins’ offices in Maine and Washington “field[ed] threatening, profanity-laden phone calls and letters,” Newsweek reported. “If you care at all about women’s choice, vote ‘no’ on Kavanaugh. Don’t be a dumb bitch,” wrote one correspondent.
A letter to her office in Maine read, “If you vote for Kavanaugh, every waitress who serves you is going to spit in your food, and that’s if you’re lucky. … Another caller told one of Collins’ 25-year-old female staffers that he hoped she’d be raped.”
Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s wife got a threatening text message featuring a beheading video.
Protesters infested the Capitol at the height of the struggle, howling and hurling themselves at the walls.
In 2016, we were warned that if Trump was elected, it would be the end of civility. They were right, but it was coming from the resistance to Trump, not from the White House.
It was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who did not act on the letter from Christine Blasey Ford when it could have been handled more quietly. She sat on it until the hearings were over and an enormous disruption was bound to occur when the allegations leaked.
Democrats en masse turned their backs on the presumption of innocence, willing to wreck one man’s life over one allegation that never seemed grounded in fact. Everything the Never Trumpers had feared was about to take place was indeed coming at them, but not from Trump. It was coming from the people who claimed that they were his opponents. This has changed the Never Trumpers’ ideas about who was their enemy. How long they can hold to this formulation depends on the Left, and on him.
Washington Examiner · by Noemie Emery · October 9, 2018