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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Is the GOP’s ‘Kavanaugh Bump’ for Real?

In his Washington Post article, “This is not what a pro-Kavanaugh electoral backlash looks like,” Philip Bump writes,

There are certainly signs that the partisan fight over Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court goosed Republican enthusiasm for the midterm elections.

“This has actually produced an incredible surge of interest among these Republican voters going into the fall election,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said to USA Today after the final vote to confirm Kavanaugh. “We’ve all been perplexed about how to get our people as interested as we know the other side is — well, this has done it.”

A survey by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist released last week indicated that McConnell’s excitement might be warranted: After trailing Democrats in enthusiasm during the summer, Republican enthusiasm for voting has caught up.

However, Bump adds that “a new CNN-SSRS poll suggests that the most enthusiastic voters are not those Americans most interested in rising to Kavanaugh’s defense…Those most enthusiastic about voting are much more negative on Kavanaugh than those not very enthusiastic about voting next month.”

Also, Bump notes, “CNN also asked voters which party’s congressional candidates they preferred. Among all voters, the Democrats had a nine-point advantage…Among those voters most likely to vote, the advantage was 13 points, up from 10 points before the Kavanaugh fight.”

Moreover, in his post at The Optimistic Leftist, “Is the Generic House Ballot Going Back Up?” Ruy Teixeira notes:

Some of us thought that once Kavanaugh was confirmed, the Democrats might start actually doing better on the House level, as Democratic anger crystallized and Republican hyper-engagement subsided. Recent results suggest that may be happening–emphasis on the “may” because it’s still too early to know for sure. But Ipsos’ new release reports a +12 Democratic lead on the generic and CNN’s has a +13 Democratic lead; these new releases have sent the Democrats’ lead in the 538 rolling aggregate back over 8 points.

So Mitch and Trump can keep on beating the Kavanaugh-as-victim drum. But it appears that it doesn’t provide much value added for the GOP in terms of the midterm elections. Indeed, it may be quite the opposite, as more conservative voters decide that the Kavanaugh confirmation is old news and move on to more immediate concerns.

2 comments on “Is the GOP’s ‘Kavanaugh Bump’ for Real?

  1. Candace on

    McConnell and Trump said it was a bump for them and they did so with authority and great strength so it must be true!

    The only bump I was aware of was after Helsinki which happened to be a couple weeks after 8 Republican Senators spent the 4th of July in Russia. Right, because before that everyone Trump endorsed lost. I guess that was the same kind of situation though. What everyone thought would be a disaster for Trump’s GOP turned out to be great for them. How do they work their magic?

    Stranger still, Trump’s Republicans are overflowing with offerings to help Democrats target them in the election and they are either ignored and become “wins” because the GOP is playing a game of destroying the hearts and minds of Americans while Democrats try to find the best economic policies for people who are known to vote against their own economic interests.
    Are Republicans trying to help Democrats so they can impeach Trump because theyre too afraid to do it?
    They become more and more extreme because the Democrats arent noticing now Republicans are trying to help them?

    Or is it just that they believe that if you can communicate a lie with force and conviction, you win


    Will Democrats grab this and go after Republicans with it, or will Helsinki strike again?

  2. Victor on

    Democrats were already on track to win the House before all the Kavanaugh posturing.

    Now we are assured to make it even more difficult for those Red State Democrats to remain in the Senate for 6 more years.

    Sacrificing 6 year terms for 2 year terms is not smart.

    Also, the hearings have created a backlash for sexual assault survivors all over the country. The standard of proof for rape has actually gone up again and has become part of the partisan culture wars.

    This is not a win for Metoo or for Democrats.

    Both long term Senators like Feinstein and new candidates like Kamala Harris completely mishandled the hearings allowing them and even making them part of partisan politics.

    This proves that Democrats’ leadership problems going forward are not a matter of age or identity. The problem is ideology and an almost total inability to communicate with non-liberals in common sense plain language.

    We can’t have complex policy issues and moral discussions be reduced to hashtags and catchphrases like Believesurvivors.

    The electorate deserves and expects better.

    The leftwing consultant and activist apparatus with its narrow liberal coastal views has proven time and again incapable of speaking to the rest of the country.

    We need to have accountability for the consultant/activist class. After disasters like this nomination heads should roll. People shouldn’t be allowed to define defeat as success. This was nowhere near even a moral victory.

    We should have 55-65% opposition to Kavanaugh, not a completely irrelevant 46%. We should be above the 50s in almost all states.

    Instead people like Harris and Booker who want to be President are pandering already to primary voters and donors. They are catering to polarize audiences in Blue States further yet even there are not able to get to the upper 60s.

    The United States doesn’t have national elections. Even when issues are nationalized the consequences are always filtered via the States and congressional districts.

    The strategy of not having national strategies and not having national calls for liberals in the cities to restrain themselves and at least try to appeal to non-PC activists is not working.

    We should not have lost in 2016. We should be in line not only for gains in the House but also for unequivocal victories in the Senate and Electoral College.

    Instead we are just muddling through.

    If Trump can get away with murder it is because Democrat’s discourse is still overwhelmingly disliked.


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