Maria Gallagher may be the symbol of this year’s midterm elections.
It was Gallagher who confronted Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator last week and said to him:
“Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.”
What Maria Gallagher said to Jeff Flake expressed the way millions of American women feel about what is going on in the U.S. Senate. To say they are unhappy would be an understatement. They are outraged, and they plan to take their anger to the polls on November 6th and turn Congress blue.
According to a Pew Research poll released last week, 76 percent of registered voters say appointments to the Supreme Court will be very important to their vote this fall and, as of this moment, is ranked as more important than health care or the economy.
There is no way the Kavanaugh hearings and nomination process are going to help Republicans. Right now some of them try to appear sincere, but it is all an act. Everybody knows they don’t care about women. They don’t care about the right to choose an abortion or about protection from (or justice for) sexual assault and harassment.
Some studies have shown that over 80 percent of women have reported being sexually harassed at some point in their lives. No matter what happens with this week’s FBI investigation, it’s not going to change how women feel. If more information about Kavanaugh comes out in the media, and if witnesses are not allowed to testify, it will inflame women’s anger even more.
Democrats have termed the FBI probe a “farce” and it appears that they are correct. Republicans are just trying to put on a show to cover themselves politically. Trump and McConnell are trying to get Senator Flake and his Republican colleagues, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, to solidify votes in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Collins and Murkowski may be wavering, since they have expressed their concerns about the allegations on several occasions. They are probably hoping the FBI probe will clear Kavanaugh’s name and let them vote for his confirmation without suffering any political consequences.
The same is probably true of Flake who said he wanted an FBI investigation only after being confronted by Maria Gallagher, saying:
“We ought to do what we can to make sure we do all due diligence with a nomination this important. This country is being ripped apart here.”
But the country right now feels that there really is no due diligence being done because the FBI investigation is being limited. Even if the FBI were to give Kavanaugh a clean bill of health for his nomination there will be political fallout for the GOP. No matter what happens this week it will be to the detriment of Republicans who already are down by 7 points to 8 points in the generic ballot for Congress. Kavanaugh could turn a Blue Wave into a Blue Tsunami.
By involving the FBI Republicans may have saved themselves from an immediate political disaster. But the disaster is still looming out there, and it will hit with full force on November 6th.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.