According to Politico, Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee considered staging a mass walk-out. Supposedly, they debated doing this just hours before the hearing began. They settled, instead, on a strategy of disruption.
I wish they had walked out. Then, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to watch the proceedings. I’ll never get that time back.
How seriously Democrats considered walking out, I don’t know. My guess is that they were always going to opt for hours of grandstanding rather than minutes of it.
As I watched the proceedings, it seemed to me that the Dems realize that, barring something entirely unexpected, Kavanaugh is going to be confirmed. Thus, the goal was not to defeat him but to drive down his popularity with voters. By doing so, they could perhaps hurt President Trump’s standing, hurt the standing of a Supreme Court poised move to the right, and make it safer for Democrats in swing states to vote against Kavanaugh (and shame them into doing so).
The problem is that, Democrats being Dems, they harped on themes that won’t necessarily make Kavanaugh unpopular, at least in swing states. They attacked the judge’s Second Amendment jurisprudence, for example. That jurisprudence may offend the constituents of Dick Durbin and Kamala Harris. But does it offend the constituents of Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, and Claire McKaskill? I suspect these voters like it.
Committee Democrats also emphasized that Kavanaugh is the nominee of President Trump and suggested that he’s been hand-picked to help Trump navigate his way through legal difficulties. But Trump carried West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, and Missouri by large margins. Most voters in these states still like Trump and probably don’t want to see the his administration succumb to legal difficulties or end with impeachment.
Committee Democrats will, I expect, be able to raise funds off of their performance this week. Beyond that, it’s difficult to see what they can accomplish that will truly advance their interests.