An article in Politico today details the various excuses and misdirections coming from red state Senate Democrats as they try to navigate the tricky waters of really wanting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh while also not saying that because, for fuck’s sake, why are you a Democrat if you do?
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia offered a particularly nothing statement, saying he hasn’t “closed any doors at all on Kavanaugh,” after two (and, since then, three) women accused him of sexual assault. (Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations and plans to do so again according to his prepared remarks for tomorrow.) But it was Sen. Joe Donnelly’s deliberations that caught my eye. According to Politico (all emphasis mine):
The two biggest wild cards remain Manchin and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). Both are paying close attention to how GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine vote, according to one person familiar with their thinking. And the duo has made clear to fellow Democrats that they’re agonizing over the decision.
“They have let us know that their states are still with Kavanaugh,” said one Democratic senator, who said the press-shy Donnelly was particularly vocal about that on Tuesday at a party meeting.
Joel Elliott, Donnelly’s chief of staff, said “Kavanaugh has support in the state, as you would expect. He’s also strongly opposed by a lot of Hoosiers.”
I don’t know where they’re getting this idea. As Sean McElwee wrote in his survey of red state polling data on Kavanaugh for The Nation last week:
Survey results suggest that Democrats in the key battleground states of Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota want their senators to remain united in opposition to Kavanaugh, and that a vote for Trump’s nominee could actually worsen the reelection prospects of all of the supposedly imperiled senators. Among the total electorate, support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation was below 50 percent in all of these states—even before assault allegations surfaced—and supporters only barely outnumbered the opposition in Indiana (39 percent support, 34 percent opposed) and Florida (37 percent in support, 32 percent opposed).
Further, among these Democrats, the net decrease in support triggered by a pro-Kavanaugh vote ranged from seven points in West Virginia to a seismic 27 points in Indiana.
Indeed, undecided voters do not consider a senator’s stand on Kavanaugh particularly important. More than two-thirds of Indiana voters said the Kavanaugh nomination would have no influence on their choice in the Senate race—and that was the lowest total of the states polled.
So, according to his anonymous colleague, Joe Donnelly is especially concerned about support for Kavanaugh in his state, which is a couple points outside the margin of error and massively outweighed by the hit he would take with Democrats. He is concerned about the one-third of voters—that’s a minority, Joe—who say the vote on Kavanaugh would influence their vote, meaning that an even smaller share of that group will actually be motivated to vote against Donnelly if he votes down Donald Trump’s nominee.
So, like, is he stupid, or what? Did he listen to this single bullshit poll commissioned by a massively funded conservative dark money group that exists solely to get conservatives confirmed to the judiciary and not anyone else? Doesn’t he have staffers who can tell him this shit? Does his brain not work so good?
Or is he lying, to his colleagues and by extension the media, about his concerns that voting against this puffy, red-faced, Federalist Society-ass, mayonnaise-ass, Precious Wee Prince of Bethesda-ass, alleged predator shitheel would hurt him in the midterms?
I doubt it. I don’t know why he would want to confirm Kavanaugh other than because of a misguided belief that it might preserve his own job. I just don’t know how he could be so resolutely, doggedly stupid. It’s a slam dunk, Joe, my man: vote no.