Bankole: Democrats need to move on from Kavanaugh
The new demand to impeach Justice Brett Kavanaugh based on latest revelations of alleged sexual misconduct against him is foolish and opportunistic. The man has been tried before Congress and in the court of public opinion. He was made to confront his alleged past misdeeds during grueling congressional hearings.
If the process that got Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court was flawed, or the allegations of sexual misconduct were not handled properly as new revelations suggest, Democrats should push for reforms so the next time a judicial candidate is nominated they are fully vetted.
But several Democratic presidential candidates, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro, are already calling for Kavanaugh's impeachment.
“I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process, and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached,” Harris said.
Warren added, “Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him. Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”
“Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a shame to the Supreme Court," Castro said. "This latest allegation of assault must be investigated.”
It makes for good politics. After all, Democrats need to whip up the party’s base to get them ready for 2020.
But Kavanaugh won't be the Republican presidential nominee in 2020.
If Democrats think making Kavanaugh the bogeyman for 2020 is a smart strategy, they are making a serious mistake.
Wasting their time calling for Kavanaugh's impeachment, they are missing an opportunity to lay out a vision for how to win the White House back from Republicans.
“We’ve got to get beyond this ‘impeachment is the answer to every problem.’ It’s not realistic. If that’s how we are identified in Congress, as the impeachment Congress, we run the risk that people will feel we’re ignoring the issues that mean a lot to them as families,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill., fired back last Monday.
I couldn’t agree more with Durbin. Wasting political capital on Kavanaugh, instead of telling voters how they plan to address the myriad of issues affecting their lives isn’t going to put Democrats in a favorable spot next year.
Democrats run the risk of being seen as opportunists waiting on every moment to pounce on new allegations, as opposed to being viewed as problem-solvers who are focused on revamping the system of accountability that got Kavanaugh to the court in the first place.
Kavanaugh is not the first conservative justice to face allegations of sexual harassment. Justice Clarence Thomas also had to answer to serious allegations made against him by Anita Hill during hearings in 1991 that were chaired by then Senator Joe Biden, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In fact, Biden, who is now the Democratic front-runner, has expressed regret about how he presided over the Thomas/Hill hearings amidst complaints that the committee did not allow enough witnesses to testify in favor of Hill.
Apparently, Democrats have not learnt anything instructive from that hearing, which was a disaster and represented the first significant impetus to the #Metoo movement.
What the Democratic candidates ought to be discussing is how to ensure that victims of sexual abuse are heard and given a fair trial. Maybe the Democratic National Committee should organize a special presidential forum on victims rights and the dangers of ignoring allegations made against individuals no matter their positions.
Calling for Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment is going down a rabbit hole and does not in any way represent a serious attempt by the Democratic candidates to show what makes them different from their opponents.
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