By: Caleb Herrin
Republicans will maintain their majority in the House and Senate because of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the High Court. Polls show that GOP voters turned out for President Trump in 2016 because of the Supreme Court vacancy, and those same voters are likely to turn out again for the midterm elections this November.
The media is already forecasting the midterm election as a victory for Democrats, but the polls and pundits are counting on a ‘blue wave’ that is not certain to materialize. The same pundits and pollsters also predicted that Clinton would win, and, among other factors, underestimated the effect Leader McConnell’s gamble of holding the Supreme Court open would have on the Republican base. With Kavanaugh’s confirmation not yet a lock, there is every reason to believe that keeping the focus on the Supreme Court during the midterms will right the somewhat tumultuous ship Republicans are currently sailing on.
Most notably, the upcoming midterm election, and ensuing court nominations, may determine the future of Roe v. Wade and abortion rights. Although a majority of the nation supports Roe v. Wade, those who oppose it are far more reliable voters. Many ‘pro-choice’ supporters believe this is an issue of women’s rights, while ‘pro-life’ supporters believe it is a matter of life or death for an unborn child. While there is certainly a dedicated base for women’s’ rights, it pales in comparison to those who vote for the lives of unborn children. A 2017 Pew Research Poll shows that the Democratic party is still divided on the issue. The same poll indicates Hispanics are almost evenly divided on the issue as well. Democrats will have a hard time motivating ‘pro-life’ supporting liberals and Hispanics to get out and vote and those people are needed to turn the House and Senate to blue.
Ultimately, President’s Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh will drive establishment Republicans to the polls. If confirmed, Kavanaugh, a proclaimed ‘darling’ amongst Republican elites, will deliver his pro-business, anti-regulatory and limited government agenda upon the court. With this pick, President Trump is attempting to give establishment Republican voters a strong reason to turn out to the polls in 2018. He couldn’t of done better than Kavanaugh, a stalwart conservative who has issued over 300 opinions, clerked under the retiring Justice Kennedy, served President Bush and wrote numerous opinions that were adopted later on by the Supreme Court.
GOP strategists, the RNC and campaign advisors will frame debates around whether or not a Congressional candidate will uphold the conservative movement to control the courts. During the 2016 Republican primary, Sen. Cruz attempted to do this by arguing that Trump may not even nominate conservative justices. Democratic incumbents in predominately red states, such as Indiana’s Sen. Joe Donnelly, West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin and North Dakota’s Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, will all face competitive challengers from the right who can use the Supreme Court card to devastating effect. In short, the burden will be on Democrats to flip Congress rather than the Republicans to hold it.
President Trump has kept his word to deregulate the EPA, move the embassy to Jerusalem, toughen up on immigration, overhaul taxes and dismantle Obamacare. By nominating Justice Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Trump is keeping his most important pledge to GOP voters: nominate constitutional conservatives to sway the Supreme Court for decades to come. Voters will remember those promises kept come November.