For many Senate Republicans facing re-election in 2020, the first step in their calculations to win in two years is showing forcefully they are behind President Donald Trump's embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – avoiding a Trump-fueled primary challenge – Politico reported Wednesday.
Many of the 21 Republicans up for re-election in two years say the intensity of their defense of Kavanaugh reflects the outrage many conservative voters feel at what they consider a "smear campaign" against the judge by liberal Democrats and the media.
Few such Republicans are taking the political risk of publicly questioning whether Kavanaugh should be confirmed, because they see no upside to becoming a skeptic on the issue, which is deemed as vitally important by the conservative base.
However, others argue, especially in the Trump-fueled news cycle, it is unclear how long this issue will actually resonate, particularly since the 2020 election is two years away.
Those supporting this belief point out – for example, for the midterm elections next month – issues such as Democratic votes against tax reform, Obamacare repeal, or the vote on confirming Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch have faded significantly amid constant chaos from the White House.
But Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff and campaign manager for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., doubts this line of thinking, telling Politico that "Kavanaugh has had a longer news half life than anything since President Trump's been elected. It leaves a disproportionately large footprint on the electorate."
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