If Democrats were looking for a way to heighten GOP voters’ determination to turn out in November, they couldn’t have done better than to mount a smear campaign against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Several Democratic senators are up for re-election in red states, and their opposition to Kavanaugh could doom them.
In North Dakota, which Donald Trump carried by a whopping 36 points, Heidi Heitkamp is in deep trouble after coming out against Kavanaugh. The latest poll, taken after the Democrats began smearing Kavanaugh but before last week’s Judiciary Committee fiasco, showed Republican challenger Kevin Cramer opening up a ten-point lead over Heitkamp. North Dakota voters favor Kavanaugh by two to one, and his strong performance at last week’s hearing probably increased that support, and Cramer’s lead.
Nervous Democrats like Joe Donnelly, Claire McKaskill and Joe Manchin have been hoping that weakness on the part of Mitch McConnell or waffling GOP senators might spare them an unpopular vote, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. A vote in favor of the Democrats’ dishonest smear campaign could drive record GOP turnout in states like North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and West Virginia.