“At this stage in his Presidency, Trump, already described in reports from his own aides as unfit for the office, implicated by his former lawyer as an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony, and now alleged, according to the Times, to have benefitted from tax schemes that in some instances amounted to “outright fraud”—not to mention being a liar and a con artist—should not be allowed to appoint Justices for lifetime appointments.”
– Adam Gopnik, “What Most Disqualifies Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court?”, The New Yorker, Oct. 4, 2018
It was always an extremely long shot. For all of the effort, for all of the twists and turns that the allegations of sexual abuse added to nomination fight, for all of the hoping beyond hope, in the end Susan Collins did what she was always going to do and provided the key vote to confirm Kavanaugh. We now have a man credibly accused multiple times of sexual abuse, a man who has lied repeated under oath, a man who is openly, bitterly partisan, hurling absurd conspiratorial accusations against his opponents and threatening revenge, sitting on the Supreme Court.
Jeff Flake’s final display of faux-integrity gave way last weekend as it became apparent that the investigation he had asked for was as fraudulent as Flake himself, as fraudulent as Susan Collins. The sham investigation – during which the FBI was told to studiously avoid looking anywhere they might actually find anything – gave cover, then, to the show of concern from Flake, Collins and others. Senators of integrity – all Democrats save Joe Manchin of West Virginia (somewhat comfortably ahead in the polls but afraid nonetheless) and one Republican, the lone one with any moral standing left, Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska – rightly voted against Kavanaugh. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota was notably brave to do so, as she is in danger of losing her Senate race.
Through it all, the Republicans were despicable. They rushed the process, withheld documents, wouldn’t call witnesses when Dr Ford came forward and made sure that the FBI wouldn’t actually do an investigation. They lied throughout and tolerated the same from Kavanaugh. At the end, they mocked and attacked Christine Blasey Ford and the other alleged victims. In the process, the Republicans further dismantled the Senate and delegitimized the Court. They are bent on one-party, endless rule and our available means of stopping them are dwindling.
The result may have been nearly pre-determined, but after the hope that Dr Ford engendered, it was still heartbreaking and deeply frightening. And yet, we’re so much better for her having come forward. We saw Kavanaugh more clearly for who he truly and awfully is – and the same for the Republican Senators. We could also see the job ahead of us even more clearly: we must take back the House and do everything possible to take back the Senate, too. In the aftermath of the penultimate vote, when Susan Collins threw away the last vestiges of her “moderate” disguise, the crowdfunded campaign to bankroll her opponent (whoever it may be) in 2020 saw its website crash, before more than a million dollars poured in. That’s great, but our efforts now must go to those candidates running now, in November. We can’t afford to lose.
In Other News
The New York Times ran a blockbuster exposé of Trump’s family finances, exploding the myth that Trump made his own fortune and claiming that the Trumps, father and son, had defrauded the United States out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The story quickly got buried under the Kavanaugh drama. Keep up the talk about it; it needs to be heard.
As a reminder, another story that got buried is Jane Mayer’s profile of the new book which alleges, persuasively, that Russia’s interference in 2016 decided the election for Trump. Let that sink in. Then make sure others know.
This week I’m keeping it short. It’s time to mobilize. I’m asking you, if you aren’t already, to work to flip red districts and states. We have a great “Out of District” team with lots of opportunities to write postcards, text, phone and canvass. Please find an action to start with – and bring a friend. This is going to take all of us. Taking back our country starts here and starts now.
– Tom Benthin
A reminder: a key resource for tracking all the abnormal events from the past week of the Trump presidency is Amy Siskind’s Weekly List: theweeklylist.org .
Before the disaster of the 2016 election we could follow the events that affected our lives by checking the news or seeing occasional posts on Facebook. Since then, with Trump’s erratic, aggressive and autocratic behavior and the Republicans’ unceasing attacks on our government and their efforts to transfer ever more money from working Americans to the rich, it has become much more difficult – and more important – to find our way through the weekly onslaught of news. To get ourselves grounded in the facts and to prepare for the week of action ahead, we provide this weekly summary of critical events to help us cut through the distractions and stay focused and informed as we fight to preserve our democracy.