by Margot Cleveland, Opinion contributor
Democrats’ partisan treatment of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh shows women just who is really on their side.
Christine Blasey Ford and her lawyers Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich
(Photo: Pool photo by Tom Williams)
The Democrats declared war on Brett Kavanaugh in the name of women’s rights. But not only did the left’s attempt to deny Kavanaugh a place on the Supreme Court with last-minute allegations of sexual misconduct fail, the tactics employed have also wrought immeasurable and long-term damage on victims of sexual assault.
Since Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that now-Justice Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago, while they were both high school students, Democrats have portrayed her mere allegation as proof conclusive of Kavanaugh’s guilt. “We must believe survivors,” became the battle cry. And Democrats, such as Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, citing the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, warned that Kavanaugh’s confirmation will “send a message to every victim of sexual violence that their pain doesn’t matter, that they do not deserve justice, and that for them, fair treatment is out of reach. This will only serve to drive victims into the shadows, and further emboldening abusers.”
Democrats’ posturing will hurt at the polls
The left’s political posturing has broadcast to victims a devastatingly untrue message, and Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Saturday has now cemented that lesson in the conscious of countless victims, leaving them convinced that speaking out about sexual abuse is futile.
However, rather than continuing to push this false narrative, what Democrats need is an incarnation of the moderate, pro-choice Republican Sen. Susan Collins — someone willing to proclaim the difficult truth: Ford’s claims of sexual assault were not believed because they were not believable.
Beyond Ford, Democrats further harmed the cause of justice for sexual abuse victims by propping up Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick’s charges of sexual misconduct as “serious allegations.” Ramirez, who claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while they were both freshman at Yale, came forward with her allegation only after spending a week chatting with attorneys and thinking over her decades-old memory of a drunken night. And every person with direct knowledge of the supposed assault denied Kavanaugh’s involvement. Swetnick’s ridiculous gang-rape charge advanced by lawyer Michael Avenatti, of Stormy Daniels’ fame, further proved the political motivation behind these unbelievable 11th-hour claims.
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Every fake rape claim, from Tawana Brawley’s tale in the late 1980s that four white men kidnapped and raped her, to the fiction Rolling Stone magazine perpetuated when it told “Jackie’s” tale of being raped by University of Virginia fraternity members, increases the public’s skepticism of sexual assault allegations. And skepticism quickly hardens to cynicism when the story screams it is a partisan hit job.
The cynicism, however, will not be limited to high-profile cases with clear political motivations. That is why the Democrats’ failed attempt to keep Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court will also backfire electorally when women flock to the polls next month for midterm elections.
Women see allegations as a risk for families
The extreme left of the Democratic Party may celebrate leaders’ no-holds-bar attempt to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but swing suburban moms are appalled by the Democrats’ ill-use of Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick.
In Ford, women saw a distraught and damaged woman paraded before the Senate, her privacy in tatters, because her sexual assault allegations were leaked to the news media at the most politically opportune moment. And as Ford’s story fell apart following her testimony, women saw the obvious harm the Democrats’ tactic will inflict on real victims of sexual assault.
Moderate women voters also find Democratic senators’ utter disregard for the men affected by false claims of sexual assault terrifying. Women watched as Kavanaugh spoke forcefully to defend his name and honor, and in Kavanaugh, women saw their innocent fathers, husbands, brothers, or sons, falsely accused, condemned and left with a reputation irreparably damaged. And in Kavanaugh’s loving wife, young daughters and distraught mother, women saw themselves and their families.
Women also saw the future of a society that puts politics over the principles of fairness and the presumption of innocence. And they saw Democrats leading that charge.
Democratic politicians, professional protesters and reproductive-rights activists are so blinded by their rage at how President Donald Trump succeeded in appointing a second originalist justice to the Supreme Court, they cannot see the anger they unleashed in the apolitical populace across America. They will see it, though, come November.
Margot Cleveland is a lawyer and an adjunct instructor at the University of Notre Dame. Follow her on Twitter: @ProfMJCleveland