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Whatever happens with the Kavanaugh confirmation, Minnesota Republicans see a midterm election boost

Judge Brett Kavanaugh
Win McNamee/Pool via REUTERS
Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If you’ve been paying attention to the fight over confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, chances are you’re angry — either over how the sexual assault allegations against him have been handled, or over how his accusers have been treated as Republicans and others rush to Kavanaugh’s defense.

But it’s possible that this widespread and deep anger over the high court fight — and the explosive debate about sexual misconduct and the #MeToo movement it provoked — could be an unexpected boost to Republicans, who are fighting to keep their majorities in the U.S. House and Senate in the midterm elections that loom on November 6.

Conservatives have overwhelmingly rallied to the defense of Kavanaugh, the federal appeals court judge who is accused by several women — including Christine Blasey Ford, who testified in the Senate last week — of sexual assault. They have raised questions about the timing of the allegations, suggesting they were intended to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination, and have painted Democrats as perpetrators of a witch hunt, hungry to block a qualified judge over allegations they say are unsubstantiated.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has been loudly critical of the Senate’s handling of the allegations against Kavanaugh, told a D.C. audience on Wednesday that this shared anger has fired up the party. “I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as I do right now,” he said. “Republicans across the board — country club, Tea Party — believe this was way over the top.”

In Minnesota — where #MeToo politics have been complicated by the ouster of Sen. Al Franken and the allegations against Rep. Keith Ellison — Republicans like U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley and 2nd District Rep. Jason Lewis are sounding similar notes on Kavanaugh.

Some Republicans are hopeful that this outrage will translate into increased support for GOP candidates up and down the ballot, and give conservative-inclined voters a reason to turn out in November. Some early polling has indicated this may be the case, fueling hope the party can counter a wave of Democratic voters, who, while angry over Kavanaugh, are already fired up over opposition to Trump.

A ‘sad circus’

The Kavanaugh issue has featured most prominently for Minnesota in the special election for U.S. Senate, in which Sen. Tina Smith — appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to fill the seat when Franken resigned in January — is facing off against Housley, a two-term state senator.

In the wake of the allegations against Kavanaugh, Housley has made the issue a central talking point for her campaign — mainly because the #MeToo discussion has given her an avenue to try to paint Smith as a hypocrite on Kavanaugh because of what the Democrat has and has not said about Ellison, the DFL’s candidate for attorney general, who was accused by his ex-girlfriend of physical and verbal abuse.

Smith has appeared at campaign events with Ellison since those allegations broke in August, and the senator has generally stuck to the DFL line on the controversy: deferring to an internal investigation of the claims against Ellison, as well as backing up the congressman’s own call for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. (That internal investigation, the results of which were made public on Tuesday, did not find evidence of wrongdoing on Ellison’s part.)

Housley is talking about the Ellison issue in relation to Kavanaugh seemingly daily: she’s appeared on two top-rated Fox News programs, those of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, to discuss. Her campaign has also run online ads hitting Smith on her handling of Kavanaugh and Ellison.

Senate candidate Karin Housley
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Senate candidate Karin Housley
The Republican told MinnPost that “The double standard the Democrats had when they were attacking Judge Kavanaugh and ignoring the domestic abuse charges against Keith Ellison, the hypocrisy of Tina Smith and the continuing to campaign with Ellison and believing him because he categorically denied, yet she’s calling on a full and complete investigation by the FBI — that hit home with people.” (Asked whether further investigation would be appropriate for the 20 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, Housley said “there’s a process in place… all sexual harassment, whether it’s the president, the mayor of a city, a doctor at a hospital, all allegations need to be investigated.”)

In a statement responding to Housley’s line of attack, Smith said “I believe that allegations of misconduct always need to be taken seriously — and I’m glad they finally are. I’ve also always believed that we need to take time to look into accusations and that everyone deserves a process so that we can get to the truth.” (Smith opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation before the sexual assault allegations broke; afterward, she called for a “quick and thorough” investigation and said Republicans would “stop at nothing” to get Kavanaugh on the court.)

Pending the results of the F.B.I. investigation, Housley said Kavanaugh should be confirmed. “I was really sad for our country that this is where we’ve come,” she said. “We spend more time looking at someone’s high school yearbook page than opinions he rendered as a judge. I kept thinking of my husband, my son — that anybody can throw an accusation like that and to have it be so publicly heard was really, really sad.”

Minnesota’s senior senator, Amy Klobuchar, is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has played a central role in the Kavanaugh hearings. She’s on the ballot in November herself, but is expected to coast to an easy win over GOP state Rep. Jim Newberger. Nevertheless, Newberger sent out a fundraising release capitalizing on Kavanaugh, saying Klobuchar has “no qualms about destroying [his] career and causing his family pain with no evidence of wrongdoing on his part.”

Among Minnesota’s top Republican candidates for U.S. House, Lewis was the only one to broadcast his disgust with the Kavanaugh episode. He sent out a press release describing it as a Democratic “‘search and destroy’ mission to shred the reputation of another human” and framed its impact in existential terms.

“It should now be clear to anyone watching this entire, sad circus that if Democrats regain control of this country the societal glue that holds us all together will dissolve and in the process no individual will be safe from deliberate smears solely designed to attain political power,” he said. “And neither will be their loved ones.”

Whipping up the base?

GOP candidates like Housley are unequivocal that the Kavanaugh controversy — particularly the spectacle of the federal judge’s hearing on Capitol Hill last week — is angering the party’s base voters and inspiring them to vote.

Housley said she noticed a big difference in her interactions with voters before and after the September 27 hearings, which she said “completely changed” moods on the ground. “Everybody is talking about it… It has energized the base to go out and do what’s right.”

She said the Kavanaugh episode has fired up not only loyal Republicans, but independents and moderate Democrats, too. “It really, just extremely upset Republicans, and even independents and suburban moms were completely disgusted with the hearings and the way they attacked Judge Kavanaugh,” she said.

Some Minnesota Republican operatives were reluctant to predict that the Kavanaugh fight would be a significant boost to the GOP’s fortunes in key races, but several said that the issue is resonating to a noticeable degree.

Gregg Peppin, a longtime Republican operative, said he believes that if the Kavanaugh controversy has any major impact, it would be in favor of Republicans — partially because Democratic base voters are already so motivated.

“I don’t know if it’s a motivating factor for Democratic or left-leaning voters; I’d question whether that’s going to provide any more gas in the liberal tank than what’s already there,” he said. “I think it can be a galvanizing issue for conservatives.”

According to Andy Brehm, a former aide to former Sen. Norm Coleman, Democrats’ handling of the Kavanaugh issue could be something that helps inspire Republican-leaning voters to the polls. “I do think in Republican circles, there is a real concern about Democrats in Washington and their respect for due process,” he said. “It’s something that’s very concerning. Will that motivate people to the polls? Probably some.”

“My experience with Minnesota voters, both conservative and liberal, is that they’re very intellectual and discerning. I don’t think one particular issue is going to push them one way or the other,” he cautioned. “I do think Republicans are very alarmed by it… I do hear a universal concern.”

After a period of reticence about the Kavanaugh allegations, the president himself is now freely amplifying the concern that he and other Republicans have been feeling. Bloomberg reports that Trump and his team increasingly believe that focusing on Kavanaugh will help rev up the president’s base — an older, whiter, and maler group already wary of #MeToo — to the GOP’s benefit in the midterms.

A day after a rally in which he mocked Ford’s emotional testimony on Capitol Hill, the president tweeted that “VOTERS ARE REALLY ANGRY AT THE VICIOUS AND DESPICABLE WAY DEMOCRATS ARE TREATING BRETT KAVANAUGH! He and his wonderful family deserve much better.”

Minnesota Democrats, meanwhile, view the Republican arguments on Kavanaugh cynically. Darin Broton, a veteran DFL operative, said the apparent strategy is designed to “whip up” working-class white men. He predicted that could have a big impact on the races in Congressional Districts 1 and 8, two Trump-heavy districts where Republicans like their chances to win.

“This messaging and strategy could play well in Minnesota, especially when you have Ellison on the ballot,” he said. “If the Senate confirms Kavanaugh this week or next week, the impact on whipping up Trump’s base will likely diminish, except in Minnesota where the Ellison allegations will continue to haunt him.”

Polling finding a possible boost for Republicans

Early polling of the public’s attitudes about the Kavanaugh allegations indicates that Trump and the other Republicans who are making the controversy part of their midterm messages may be on to something.

A new poll from PBS NewsHour and Marist College found that the so-called “enthusiasm gap” between Democratic and Republican voters — which describes the share of people in both groups who believe the upcoming elections are “very important” — has significantly narrowed in the wake of the high-profile Capitol Hill hearings last week.

In June, Democrats had a 10-point advantage in the enthusiasm-gap metric; the newest poll found that advantage has narrowed to just two points: 82 percent of Democrats believe the November elections are “very important,” while 80 percent of Republicans do. Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said the poll’s big takeaway is that the result of the Kavanaugh hearings is that “at least in short run, is the Republican base was awakened.”

Another new poll from Politico and Morning Consult found that support for Kavanaugh strengthened among Republicans over the last week: before the hearings, 58 percent of GOP voters backed the Supreme Court nominee. As of Monday, 73 percent did.

Tim Lindberg, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota-Morris, said that it’s been relatively easy for Republicans to build a persuasive case that Kavanaugh has been treated unfairly by Democrats.

“It’s really easy to play up, particularly among people who didn’t watch the hearing,” he said. “It’s easy to pump up outrage… What happens if we dig up what happened with everyone in high school?”

Lindberg said the controversy could continue to make a big impact on the election. “It’s hard to say this won’t make the difference, when it really could. A really big impact would be Republicans coming out to vote who aren’t already,” he said. “I don’t think there will be more Democrats who are going to come out.”

A larger question of the controversy’s impact on the midterms, Lindberg says, is if it will break through to people who are not politically polarized. “It only takes one or two percent of people to change their minds, to come out to vote, to make the difference in these elections.”

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Comments (70)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/04/2018 - 11:04 am.

    Yes, the controversy is something that could rev up the conservative base, but the operative word there is “could.” There are multiple reasons to vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a place on the SCOTUS bench that have nothing to do with Christine Blasey Ford, stemming from his activities and legal opinions going all the way back to the pointless Whitewater investigation of the Clintons, wherein the Clintons were – and continue to be, among right-wingers – vilified for behaving as, gasp, Republicans.

  2. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 10/04/2018 - 11:16 am.

    I wonder what repubs are going to say to their children when they start to talk about sex abuse they suffered 10-30 years ago. Will they ignore it or call them nuts?
    Interesting that despite the history and facts of sex abuse…that most hide it and talk about it with only a few…taking years to come out. To come out, has to be difficult when we see a repub party that chooses to ignore these issues…or insult and threaten those who do.
    I don’t think I’ve seen a more deplorable behavior from repubs as we see with this issue…but every time we turn around…there are more deplorable issues from trump and this repub party.
    They claim Christian values…but do the opposite of what was asked of us by Christ. Deplorable.

  3. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 10/04/2018 - 11:19 am.

    No matter which side you’re on, because of the extreme and heated polarization around Kavanaugh, he should step down or the republican senators withdraw his name. When I see police escorting senators because of the possibility of violence, I can only think he cannot be a Supreme Court Justice with all that raging about him.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/04/2018 - 11:47 am.

      Those police escorts are all for show. Republicans are trying to frame progressive protesters as violent. Its not true, but these folks are really good a building a false narrative, part of which is unnecessary police escorts. It has the added benefit of keeping constituents, constituents without boat loads of cash anyway, at arms length.

  4. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/04/2018 - 11:27 am.

    Conservative voters are mobilized over their anger at seeing a man questioned about accusations of sexual assault.

    That speaks volumes about them, doesn’t it?

    • Submitted by Dave Paulson on 10/04/2018 - 12:04 pm.

      Hardly a surprise though for anyone who overlooks trump’s un-presidential behavior, much less endorses it.

      The Never-trumpers have the high ground, joined by only a few who owned up after their vote.

  5. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 10/04/2018 - 11:31 am.

    The entire Kavanaugh/Ford thing is a complete joke. I didn’t find either of them to be credible witnesses. Ford could not remember important details and Kavanaugh lost his cool.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 10/04/2018 - 11:51 am.

      And therefore, if I’m following your reasoning, neither is qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    • Submitted by Dave Paulson on 10/04/2018 - 11:55 am.

      look at the outcome if either is lying, and Kavanaugh’s self control:

      Ford is a liar or miss-rememberer, your life is unaffected and you forget this in a month.

      Kavanaugh is making decisions that effect every American for 40 years, and he is pissed of at a sub-conscious level

  6. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/04/2018 - 11:41 am.

    Of course they have, angry, entitled white dude, that’s what the Conservative movement has become.

  7. Submitted by Dave Paulson on 10/04/2018 - 12:01 pm.

    The GOP will not stand back and see the long-term implications of putting a man on the bench who has 3 strikes against the chance he will be the Judge the sytem requires:

    His hyper-partisanship past and present

    His inability to see the context and therefore necessity of his second testimony, and therefore the necessity he be unemotional and in self-control (you know, like a judge on the highest court)

    He is now poisoned, both in his head – which he clearly demonstrated, and by the power-play of his nomination-confirmation process.

  8. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 10/04/2018 - 12:14 pm.

    Rich white men who lie under oath about not being heavy drinkers protected by the master abuser if them all, Donald Trump, feeling like victims. If that is what rural Minnesota wants to rally around, when Trump is destroying their livelihood by his moronic trade war, it is their choice.

    Trump is concerned that “perfect” young men are at great risk because of false sexual assault charges? Sorry, Kavanaugh was part of a brat pack that wanted to get drunk and laid as often as possible. With his history, it involves a suspension of belief that Ford is making this up.

    Just think of the sad story of Teddy Kennedy. His drunken antics got a young woman killed, but forces that be protected himself he continued in politics. Had another man more in control been in his place, might we have ended up in a better place.

    95% of the Republicans Trump could have appointed would not denegrate the Court the way Kavanaugh will. He will be taking revenge for at least the next 49 years.

  9. Submitted by joe smith on 10/04/2018 - 12:19 pm.

    The disgust the Left has for conservatives shows up every time they speak. Whether it is Obama’s claim that they “cling to their guns and bibles”, Hillary’s “deplorables” or here where you read about “angry white privilege”. So sad that we can’t talk policies anymore, it is all personal. The personalities of politics will leave, Obama had 8 years and you can look at record to see what you like or dislike. Trump will be gone eventually and then you can decide if you like his policies.
    As far as the article goes, moderate Dems and independents see this Kavanaugh confirmation for what is and the vote in Nov will show if they approve or disapprove. The way it should be.

    • Submitted by Brian Gandt on 10/04/2018 - 12:32 pm.

      Ah, so we’ll show our please or displeasure in November regarding the SCOTUS appointment? That is AFTER the appointment. Far cry from what Republicans thought in Obama’s last year.

      Also, a vote only switches out elected reps. A SCOTUS appointment is lifetime, but, hey it’s your guy, so who cares how we got to this point.

      You are correct about the disgust, though.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/04/2018 - 12:46 pm.

      What I have learned in this debate, if that’s what it it, is that Trump and his followers are willing to smear a sexual assault victim in order to put a rage-filled drunkard on the Supreme Court.

      Sometimes, character does matter.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 10/04/2018 - 01:46 pm.

        What I’ve learned is a man with a 30 plus year record of excellence can be raked over the coals by the Left on a 35 year old charge with no witnesses. I’ve also learned it your responsibility to prove your innocence rather than have someone prove your guilt, new rules. I’ve also learned that the accuser doesn’t need to know the year the incident took place. The most interesting thing I learned is an innocent man (must need proof to be guilty) can not get mad when he is accused of gang rape, drugging girls and running a ring of rapists.
        You’re right character does count.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/04/2018 - 02:28 pm.

          Kavanaugh has lied to us plenty of times this year. Reason enough to deny him appointment to the highest court in the land.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/04/2018 - 02:35 pm.

          “30 plus year record of excellence?” Really? Did you know that the man has never tried a case in his life? That his sole qualification for sitting on the Court of Appeals was acting as consigliere to the Bush White House?

          “I’ve also learned it your responsibility to prove your innocence rather than have someone prove your guilt, new rules.” He is, in essence, interviewing for a job. It is his burden to prove he is fit for the position. Old rules, although I understand why there would be an immediate association of criminality with any Trump appointment.

          I know it is redundant, but I will point out again that this is not a criminal proceeding. The worst outcome for Judge Kavanaugh is that he is denied a seat on the highest court in the United States. He will not go to jail, he will not have to pay a fine, and his ability to speak to the Federalist Society about how icky liberals are will remain untrammeled.

          “The most interesting thing I learned is an innocent man (must need proof to be guilty) can not get mad when he is accused of gang rape, drugging girls and running a ring of rapists.” So we’re not holding potential Supreme Court Justices to a higher standard? I guess spittle-flecked rage is the new normal for the Trump era.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/04/2018 - 03:45 pm.

        Oh please. There wasn’t a shred of evidence brought with the accusation or uncovered in 7 FBI investigations. None of Fords witnesses corroborated her story. There is nothing, but that hasn’t stopped leftists from labeling a man with a sterling record with the most vile descriptions.

        That, friend, is the textbook definition of a smear.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/04/2018 - 04:01 pm.

          I think the Central Park Five case is an even better definition of a smear. Some skeevy real estate developer ran inflammatory newspaper ads urging their conviction and execution, but after they spent several years in jail, they were exonerated by scientific evidence and someone else’s confession.

          You would think that the skeevy real estate developer would have taken the opportunity to admit his error, wouldn’t you? Sure, of course, buy that would be underestimating his skeeviness by a staggering amount.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 10/04/2018 - 02:17 pm.

      Spare us the outrage,Joe. You folks act like you were gracious hosts to Obama. The reality is that even before he was inaugurated, numerous signs at tea party rallies portrayed Obama being hung in effigy, or as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. I can’t remember a sitting president that was treated with such disrespect. GOP senators and congresscritters claiming that he was a secret Muslim with terrorist ties. A loudmouth congressman shouting him down in the middle of the State of the Union address. A sitting president actually forced to show his birth certificate and that still wasn’t good enough to appease the right.

      Finally, let’s set the record straight about the “guns and bible” quote by viewing in it’s full context…..

      “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

      And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

      Tell me where any of that statement is wrong…I’ll wait.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 10/04/2018 - 03:53 pm.

        Ian, to be accurate the quote is “they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration”. The good news is with a new administration those same small town folks are working again. The anti-trade line should be anti-unfair trade, with new NAFTA rule that allows USA veto of third party deals, that also is fixed. The only not accurate line was Obama claiming those jobs won’t be coming back.
        Nothing better after than after the last 2 weeks a liberal claiming the moral high ground.

        • Submitted by Dave Paulson on 10/04/2018 - 09:49 pm.

          I’ll leave the Kavanaugh was either railroaded or is a proven rapist argument out of it (both positions are highly exaggerated).
          But you brought in a broad brush statement about the economy and small town folks are working “again” which just contradicts all the data.

          The unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing since the economy was driven off a cliff in 2007/2008, and you just need to look at the graphs of actual data to see that their was not a turn around just because of Trump’s election (real earnings outside Wall Street actually went backward in 2017). More jobs were created in 2014, 2015 and 2016 than in 2017. The Tax Cut/Debt Increase/Deficit Increase Act did pour some fuel on the recovery – as 90% of non-partisan economists said it would when they heartily warned against it (“Its like they have not learned from the last cycle a decade ago – the last thing a thriving economy needs is a tax cut” is a common theme among these adults in the economic room.) But votes and power are apparently more important than good stewardship, so now we will pay, but mainly by your children and grandchildren misfortunes.

          It took 6.5 years of both Obama Admin plus Congressional (no economists will tell you the president controls the economy) policy efforts
          to pull us out, and Trump came in when the die was cast.

          This economic story much is easier to see than the he said / she said battle that you mischaracterized (she was 15 years old so obviously she knows what year it was, it was the 12 months that she was 15).

          But that economic story is still less clear than the fact that trump took out all policy discussion in the GOP candidate debates and replaced it with schoolyard taunts and bragging, and has not acted Presidential 2 days in a row since. That is also well documented in video and tweets, and history will not – could not – be kind to people who support that behavior.

          So America is giving up decency and honesty as called for by its highest leader and trading it for various thinkgs, but you cannot say it is for more jobs than would have occurred otherwise. Nope. The data says otherwise.

          • Submitted by joe smith on 10/05/2018 - 09:35 am.

            What policies did Obama implement to create an environment where the USA could grow jobs and raise the GDP to where Trillions of additional dollars are being pumped into the economy? Did Obama cut the world leading idiotic 35% corporate tax down to 21% (should have been lower)?Did Obama cut the tax rate for regular Americans? Did Obama lift crushing replicating regulations and did Obama even understand how outdated and harmful our trade policies were, Remember those manufacturing jobs that were never coming back, they are coming back in the 10’s of thousands.
            Tell me the policies that Obama put in to have manufacturing confidence at an all time high? Cash for clunkers, maybe? Politicians come and go, policies stay and affect Americans.

            • Submitted by Dave Paulson on 10/06/2018 - 06:21 pm.

              Its like you did not read my post.
              Instead of posit a debatable cause (policy) – effect (jobs etc) relationship, I went right to the non-debatable data in the category you selected yourself! Prove your assertion with some data Joe.

              All this BS about trump saving the economy is pure hooey and I guess if you can believe a proven NYC real estate cheat, repeat liar and 5 time philanderer (that all occurred BEFORE he was elected) will make America greater than it already is, then you can ignore the data and think trump turned around the economy.

              But here are some facts Joe:
              Unemployment was steadily declining and at 4.7% when trump took office.
              The GOP congress wrote the Tax Cut /Deficit Balloon/ Debt Addition Act.
              The stock market went up only the same amount in trump’s first 12 months as it did under the same period of Obama’s second term.
              The number of non-government jobs created in CYs 2014, 2015 and 2016 were greater than in 2017 and in QTRs 1+2 of 2018, doubled.

              How dare I say he is a liar and a cheat? – the data points are TNC
              BUT just two:

              Repeatedly, trump said the unemployment figures under Obama were fake, but the first numbers that came out under his Admin and calculated the same way were real (and due to himself, although no real economist would say the first several quarters results were due to a new President’s policies).

              Mar-a Lago asked for, and received, 62 H2-b visas in 2018 to hire cheap labor instead of local workers, while local job agency went public saying they had 6300 qualified local workers available. They also cheated on fulfilling the requirements to get these American job-stealing visas.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 10/04/2018 - 10:52 pm.

          No, Joe. we don’t know that those people are working again. Those same towns haven’t reawakened nor has new industry flooded into them. Coal mining jobs haven’t returned and manufacturing still needs a different skill set than it did twenty years ago. And for the record, the quote I posted was a direct transcription. But you still didn’t answer my question…what was inaccurate? You yourself have posted numerous times about the good old days, when religion was in school and gun racks were in kids trucks in the school parking lot. Isn’t that clinging to guns and religion? Isn’t that clinging to a memory that makes you more content?

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/04/2018 - 02:57 pm.

      When Conservatives stop doing discussing things, we will stop having discuss for them. Its really that simple.

  10. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/04/2018 - 12:42 pm.

    If trends continue, here’s what I see:
    1) Another clean sweep of the state constitutional offices by the DFL
    2) The GOP losing one, perhaps two House seats (2nd, 3rd)
    3) DFL gains more seats in MN legislature
    4) Both US Senators reelected

    I can’t say for certain what happens to the open seats in the 1st and the 8th, but they also remain blue, Nov. 6 is going to be a day MN GOP won’t soon forget.

    • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/04/2018 - 09:46 pm.

      One suspects that prosperity out on Main Street is going to trump the circus going on in Washington. The generic Congressional poll on 538 Blog is tightening and the odds of the Democrats taking the House are starting to recede. An improving status quo favors the incumbent party.
      A fascinating election is coming up.

      • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/05/2018 - 10:18 am.

        Fascinating indeed. It’s worth noting that nobody votes for a “generic Congress.” That’s why incumbents keep getting elected, even when the popularity of Congress is at rock-bottom levels. Every few cycles, the voters throw out the bums and elect new bums. We will know soon if this is one of those cycles.

  11. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/04/2018 - 12:53 pm.

    We have a leader, in the loosest sense of the word, Trump, who can’t stop lying plus he himself, through his actions and comments, doesn’t trust the FBI or the justice department. Now with Kavenaugh, I have no idea how the FBI investigation was throttled down by Trump, a liar, but “I’m” supposed to trust the FBI did a good job with their follow up investigation of Kavenaugh. I’m not allowed to see the information from the FBI regarding Kavenaugh which was to give me confidence in the character of Kavenaugh. Washington D.C. continues to be a political SWAMP? Trump was supposed to drain the swamp and he has only added to it and muddied the waters.

  12. Submitted by Josh Lease on 10/04/2018 - 01:32 pm.

    Andy Brehm’s concern over process is laughable. I must have missed his outrage over Merrick Garland never getting so much as a hearing. No matter what, Brehm will spin the party line in support and praise for the GOP. Why exactly does MinnPost continue to get quotes from this hack?

  13. Submitted by Joe Musich on 10/04/2018 - 02:16 pm.

    Sen Lindsey Graham wants Sen Amy Klobuchar to apologize. Well now it’s getting personal. These hard hitters on the right have tipped over into the craziest of lands. If this character is approved it does nod bode well for us all. The biggest voting group is the non voter. Why ? In our recent history the greatest contributor to our ozzing wounds has been connected to GOP behavior almost entirely. A disenchanted electorate will/has given us despotism…

  14. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/04/2018 - 03:22 pm.

    The comments right here are a good example of what’s motivating the right. Keep up the good work!

    • Submitted by ian wade on 10/04/2018 - 10:54 pm.

      and vice versa, Curtis…vice versa.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/05/2018 - 07:51 am.

      Funny, Republicans are good at getting out to vote in Mid-Terms so motivating them isn’t an issue, its Democrats who have a problem with turning out their voters, but by Supporting serial sexual assaulters Republicans are motivating independent voters and suburban women to vote for Democrats. In the words of Bret Kavanaugh: “the [Republican Party] will reap the whirlwind” for supporting people like Bart and Donald.

      Heres a good video of Republican voters talking to Millennials.

  15. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/04/2018 - 07:24 pm.

    If I thought the current GOP were listening to anyone but their own inner circle,…

    I wouldn’t post this, but…

    they’ve got the timing on the Kavannaugh coronation all wrong.

    They’re going to crown him the new “conservative” king of the SCOTUS,…

    likely tomorrow (Friday),…

    then their intellectually (and physically) lazy supporters are all going to settle back in their easy chairs,…

    watch their favorite sports events,…

    and not even bother to go out and vote,…

    because it’s OVER (in their minds),…

    they’ve already won!

    Meanwhile, the Democrats (and moderates) are going to continue to be massively angry and motivated,…

    especially the women,…

    and they WILL vote in unprecedented numbers.

    By railroading Kavannaugh through now,…

    they have increased what was looking like it might have been a mere blue ripple in November,…

    into the political equivalent of the wave which hits the Eastern Seaboard in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow,”…

    but please! Nobody tell them!

  16. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 10/04/2018 - 09:44 pm.

    It would seem the Repubs are doing their best to diminish respect for the Supreme Court by transparently politicizing it. First the baldly political refusal to hold confirmation hearings on Merrill Garland, now the ramrodding of a petulant bully who apparently believes executive authority is akin to the divine right of kings and is willing to repeatedly and publicly lie to gain his seat. It is entirely possible that the delegitimization of the Court will bring consequences that the Repubs neither foresee nor desire.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/05/2018 - 11:39 am.

      Everyone fully expects that when their bag of tricks is finally depleted, leftists will fall back and declare the SCOTUS “illegitimate”, it is after all what they do when elections don’t go their way; tried and true.

      And that’s fine. But I’m still waiting for someone to try defying a law, or ruling from a legislature or court they don’t see as credible.

      IMO, until someone steps up to defy a government they say is illegitimate, their complaints are illegitimate.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/06/2018 - 10:06 am.

        That’s rich coming from someone aligned with a movement based on complaining about the illegitimacy of Roe v. Wade and a bunch of other Supreme Court decisions, e.g. Reynolds v. Sims. All the noise I hear about “judicial tyranny” seems to come from the right. Those complaints are wrong, muddle-headed and uninformed. I wouldn’t call them “illegitimate” though.

  17. Submitted by Theo Kozel on 10/05/2018 - 11:31 am.

    At the end of the day, the headline is supported solely by anecdata and ‘[p]olling finding a possible boost”. That’s poor and misleading.

  18. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/05/2018 - 11:32 am.

    “by Supporting serial sexual assaulters Republicans are…”

    There is exactly the same amount of evidence that Obama was born in Kenya as there is Kavanaugh committed sexual assault. Welcome to the Brotherhood of Conspiracy.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 10/05/2018 - 12:26 pm.

      Well, given the fact that Trump himself eagerly advanced the Kenyan birth conspiracy, as an obvious supporter, I guess that makes your outrage over the Democrats objection to Kavanaugh illegitimate.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/05/2018 - 01:10 pm.

      Women have come forward to say they were sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh. That, by any definition of the term, is evidence. It may not be conclusive evidence, but it is evidence just the same.

      What is the evidence that Obama was born in Kenya?

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/05/2018 - 08:31 pm.

      Since when does a person’s experience not count as evidence? If someone punches you in the nose, what would you think if the police told you: “go away, that’s not evidence”?

  19. Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/05/2018 - 12:04 pm.

    So this new commenting system appears to limit the number of replies allowed under any one comment. Hmmm . . . . .

    Okay – here is my attempt to reply to Joe Smith’s assertion above that “manufacturing jobs . . . are coming back in the 10’s of thousands”.

    For a statement like that, we DEFINITELY need a supporting citation.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/08/2018 - 11:47 am.

    Forgive me if I’m repeating someone else’s comment but I got three things to say:

    1) The Republican Party is currently dissembling because they’ve got nothing, and they never get tired of being wrong. They thought trickle-down was the economic plan, and the tax cut would make them gold, and repealing Obamacare was a genius idea. So now they think they’re going to get a boost… sure but have we seen any pigs flying around lately?

    2) All that might happen is a little energizing among the base but their base is too small to keep them in power, and their base got what they wanted so they’re more likely to walk away satisfied and go hunting than they are to stay mad and go to the polls.

    3) While kavanaugh’s confirmation might be a disaster in some ways, it will energize liberals and women to an extent not seen since the 70’s. A lot of American’s are going to realize that complacency and centrist accommodation (The hallmarks of Democratic political incompetence and negligence) have delivered the multiple catastrophe’s of Trump’s presidency, Judicial fraud, and Republican control. I had hoped a political catastrophe like this wouldn’t be necessary to shock Americans out of their complacency but alas, here is it. The good thing is that Republicans have poked a bear they can ill afford to contend with. Of course, they don’t see it coming, but they’ve spent decades cultivating ignorance and magical thinking, so… “Cheers” welcome to the midterms.

  21. Submitted by Jim Roth on 10/08/2018 - 01:35 pm.

    Minnesota Republicans, like their heroes Trump and McConnell, see everything as a midterm election boost.

  22. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/08/2018 - 03:30 pm.

    As usual, the Democrats emphasized the wrong thing in their opposition to Kavanagh. (Other examples: Don’t try to win the governorship of Texas by highlighting abortion rights, don’t try to win the presidency by emphasizing the faults of your opponent and badmouthing his followers, don’t try to save the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest by emphasizing the fate of the spotted owl.)

    Having been a graduate student at Yale in the years just before Kavanagh arrived, I heard about the heavy drinking culture and prevalence of sexual assault among a certain segment of the undergraduate population, so Ford’s accusations seem plausible.

    It was also pathetic to see all the right-wingers in newspaper comments sections who reacted with, “Ooh, now we/ the men in our lives will all be subject to accusations of sexual assault, even if we’re innocent.”

    As the old saying goes, “If the shoe fits wear it.” If you aren’t a sexual predator, your chance of being falsely accused are practically nil.

    But that was not the most important reason to reject Kavanagh. He went straight from law clerk to White House staffer to federal judge and has never represented a client in a trial or litigation. He is a hyper-partisan errand boy for the Federalist Society, as is demonstrated by the cases he has ruled on so far, and he was rushed into office because of his stated position that anyone pardoned by a president could not later be sued by a state court.

    And this, ladies and gentleman, is what the Democrats should have emphasized.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 10/08/2018 - 09:01 pm.

      Without getting into any discussion on Mr Kavanaugh, your facts are wrong. You may want to look up Wikipedia…..

      “But that was not the most important reason to reject Kavanagh. He went straight from law clerk to White House staffer to federal judge and has never represented a client in a trial or litigation.”

      From 1997 to 1998, Kavanaugh was a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis…….In Swidler & Berlin v. United States (1998), Kavanaugh argued his first and only case before the Supreme Court. Arguing for Starr’s office, Kavanaugh asked the court to disregard attorney-client privilege in relation to the investigation of Foster’s death.[47] The court rejected Kavanaugh’s arguments by a vote of 6–3.[48]

      In 1999, Kavanaugh rejoined the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis as a partner.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/09/2018 - 09:46 am.

        So his case before the Supreme Court was a part of his participation in one of the sleaziest episodes of political chicanery in recent memory.

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