Co-presented by

'The trauma for a man': Donald Trump's party is enjoying a Brett Kavanaugh bump ahead of midterms, feeding off male resentment against #MeToo

New York: In one week, Brett Kavanaugh has gone from US president Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault by a woman from his high school years to a pin-up boy for the uncompromising political right which is feeding off a flood of male resentment against the #MeToo movement and the threat of false accusers.

Kavanaugh has gone from Yale frat boy to Supreme Court nominee to folk hero - a stand-in for men who find themselves cornered for stuff they did or did not do, even if it was from a time that has no relevance to the jobs they do today.

"Trump, the mad puppet master of identity politics, understood that Kavanaugh is a proxy for precisely the sort of voter who swept him into office: a white, fiftysomething man, furious that what he feels is owed to him might be slipping away", writes Peter Hamby in Vanity Fair.

"What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking”, said White House spokesman Raj Shah. “Let’s quit the antics and stop these intimidation games”, said a clutch of senior (white) male Republican Senators. The loudest and the most dramatic stand came from Trump earlier in the week, well before the FBI report was outed: “The trauma for a man that’s never had any accusation — he’s never had a bad statement about him…it’s unfair to him at this point. What his wife is going through, what his beautiful children are going through is not describable.” Look at the results from the circus: A Quinnipac poll shows that the 14-point lead Democrats had in the generic ballot in mid-September is now down to 7 points. The gaps have narrowed, the race has tightened and the Kavanaugh firestorm may be just the miracle the Republicans needed.

 The trauma for a man: Donald Trumps party is enjoying a Brett Kavanaugh bump ahead of midterms, feeding off male resentment against #MeToo

Donald Trump on the midterm 2018 campaign trail. AP

After the Brett Kavanaugh FBI probe story blew up, Republicans’ chances to keep the Senate have only improved in most polls even as a high-stakes partisan row broke out Thursday with Republicans claiming investigators found "no hint of misconduct" and Democrats accusing the White House of slapping crippling constraints on the probe.

Over the last one week alone, Republicans’ chances to win the Senate have gone up from 68 to 77% in one forecast. Midterm elections which will decide control of Congress are due in less than 34 days. Republicans have been favourites to keep the Senate where they have a razor thin majority now ( 51-49) but the Kavanaugh bump is clear to see. 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.

With the FBI delivering its secret report on Brett Kavanaugh that hasn’t turned up any dirt on Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, a rough week that’s turned good for the party of Trump.

It's all happened on the double: Between the initial accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, the following backlash against Kavanaugh and Donald Trump mocking the accuser during a campaign rally, it took barely a couple of weeks but it's come at an important time for the Republicans, widely understood to be on the backfoot with educated female voters. With the FBI report on Kavanaugh now aligning with Trump's theme of "you're perfect all your life and one accuser can ruin your reputation", the Republicans are getting the full throated support of white men who did the star turn in the 2016 elections for Trump.

Trump, before a wildly approving audience at a rally in Mississippi, mocked Ford in a dramatic and high pitched performance, answering “upstairs, downstairs, I don’t know” to one of many questions he posed rhetorically that Ford couldn’t answer. The crowd's raucous laughter has been compared by news networks to what Ford described as her most "indelible" memory: when Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge laughed at her uproariously.

If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump's aggressive strategy this week will be proven right, more white men will join the fold and the message Republicans will be sending to women everywhere in America will be clear: If you dare accuse a man, do it and walk away but if you stay in the fight, we'll put you on trial and we'll hit you with everything that the #MeToo movement has come to be associated with.

From a Senate of 100 members, the Kavanaugh decision rests on how three Republican and two Democratic senators vote because all the other votes are along party lines: Republican Senators. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Heitkamp, around 2: 30 pm EST on Thursday, made her decision public: She will vote against Kavanaugh. In case of a tie, Mike Pence has the tie breaker vote.

"Your son — yes, yours — is one Ford-like accusation away from complete character destruction", writes Cheryl Chumley in The Washington Times. The resistance against the #MeToo movement has been a long time coming and Trump is its unlikely flagbearer. From what we're hearing, men aren't complaining.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Oct 05, 2018 02:07:29 IST