If Wishing Could Make It So

I hope this column from The Guardian isn’t a case of “whistling Dixie” as the old saying goes.

Titled “The Republican Party is about to face the wrath of women,” the writer suggests that the anger I’ve expressed over the GOP’s behavior in the Kavanaugh hearings is both a lot more widespread than many think–and not limited to the behavior of those involved in these hearings.

Even the dimmest and most misogynist of Republican operatives must realize, by this point, that the supreme court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the handling of the sexual assault allegations against him will hurt their chances, especially with women voters, in the upcoming midterm elections.

What they don’t seem to realize, though, is that huge numbers of women aren’t just mad – they’re organized and mobilized politically in a way we’ve never quite seen before. The key story of the midterms is the large number of progressive women – and to a lesser extent, progressive men – who have been taking on the crucial, unglamorous work that swings elections: registering voters, canvassing door-to-door, preparing to get people to the polls. The disdain for women that the Republicans have shown by continuing to rally behind Kavanaugh is only energizing them further.

The author cites some impressive evidence for those assertions. Beginning with the millions of Americans who joined the Women’s Marches following Trump’s election, the author describes a “multi-issue, women-led upsurge of political engagement on an unprecedented scale.”

Nearly 25,000 protests have taken place since Trump’s inauguration, involving somewhere between 14 and 21 million Americans. These figures greatly exceed levels of protest participation at any prior time in US history, even the height of the Vietnam war. And no matter the issue or focus of the demonstrations, women have consistently been the majority of those taking to the streets. (Emphasis added.)

Protests, without more, change nothing. So it is both impressive and gratifying to see the level of grass-roots activism that has accompanied those marches. Women, especially, have built what the author calls “a powerful electoral ground game.”

Substantial mobilizing for the midterms is being done through the vast array of local grassroots groups that formed after Trump took office, including the 5,000 groups affiliated with Indivisible. Like the resistance to Trump more generally, these groups are typically women-led and have already played a key role in a series of progressive electoral upsets, including Doug Jones’s Senate victory in Alabama last December to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s highly publicized primary win this past June. Their autonomy from the Democratic party gives much of their work an under-the-radar quality that can obscure their impact.

Theda Skocpol is an eminent political scientist who has investigated the resistance–the anti-Trump phenomenon that is reflected in the 5,000 groups cited in the Guardian column.

Skocpol, the longtime government and sociology professor at Harvard University, has been making research trips to eight counties that went for Donald Trump in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as communities across all of Pennsylvania. In suburban America, even in uber-conservative counties, Skocpol began to notice action groups popping up in response to Trump. And she began to notice who was doing the organizing, here in the heart of what the national media have taken to calling Trump Country: women. Specifically older, college-educated white women: “retired teachers, librarians, health care people, some businesswomen,” as Skocpol put it.

Exit polling tells us that 52 percent of white female voters went for Trump in 2016 (something I still can’t get my head around….)

Skocpol acknowledges this, but her research suggests that the political behaviors of these white women have shifted radically in the wake of the election. They are calling on Congress, knocking on doors on behalf of state and local candidates, and in some cases, running for office themselves. “Sociologically, what we are witnessing is an inflection point — a shift in long-standing trends — concentrated in one large demographic group, as college-educated women have ramped up their political participation en masse,” she wrote in a recent essay co-authored with Lara Putnam.

Skocpol’s observations certainly mesh with the enormous upsurge in women’s political activity that I’ve seen in Indiana. But the proof of the pudding–to use another old-fashioned saying–will come when the votes get counted.

I’m not hoping for a wave–I’m hoping for a tsunami. And I’m alternately terrified by the thought that we might not get either one.


  1. After watching the hearing yesterday, I am more disheartened than I have ever been in my entire adult life. The blatant disrespect and dismissal of Dr. Ford’s charges and the rude, deflecting, defiantly partisan reaction by Kavanaugh and his backers, especially Graham who is clearly angling to be AG, was compelling evidence of the complete breakdown of our governing system.
    I don’t know how any Senator on either side can depend on colleagues for bi-partisan cooperation when the hate and anger was so blatantly and publicly displayed.
    I was most disturbed by the Kavanaugh assertion that his life was destroyed by an orchestrated political hit and revenge by the Clintons to block him no matter what. His clear defiant, angry, deflecting and partisan responses make him unqualified if for no other reason than his complete lack of judicial temperament.
    This is a crisis point in our democratic republic, corruption and greed writ large, prove the Lincoln’s prophecy of a house divided.

  2. I agree with you Aimee and have made that point since the Tea Party burst upon the scene fueled by a very well-financed insurgency. At least Nixon and the GOP used “dog-whistles” for years. Reagan was famous for it. As yesterday’s post taught us, the problem has been the lack of counter-insurgency from the left. The Wall Street owned DNC has obliged by moving to the right as well.

    The oppressed have been abandoned for decades without any counter-insurgency. Nothing. As wise folks have been pointing out, we the people are responsible for allowing our body politics and those in power to oppress others which paved the way for Trump and his collective “isms.”

    I know there are diehard democrats on this blog, but certainly, they must ask why hasn’t their party done more to check the power of white male oppressors. For decades, the oppressed has gone without representation and our lives have been negatively impacted in every measurement imaginable.

    As today’s article notes, women are now organizing. Hopefully, most of them are organizing for progressive politics because just supporting the Democratic Party will not do anything.

    Let me repeat, a traditional lever pull for a Democratic politician will do nothing for the oppressed because we have decades of evidence to scan. The results are in and it’s rather obvious who the losers have been for years.

    This is why I am critical of the media…the free press is 100% responsible for checking the power of those in government. It’s called the Fourth Estate or Fourth Branch of Government for a reason. It too has failed the American people– specifically women, minorities, immigrants, workers, small business owners, LGBTQ, etc., etc.

    I’ve also been warning that once the counter-insurgency comes, we’ll quickly find out why the oppressors have spent billions on our surveillance state. 😉

  3. The “hearing” yesterday; a continuation of the first “hearing” by the Republican dominated Senate Judicial Committee, was not scheduled to decide answers to questioning Kavanaugh’s ability to sit on SCOTUS for the remainder of his life. It was scheduled to give both sides the opportunity to speak publicly for themselves; Dr. Ford has been asking for an FBI investigation of the situation since her story went public. And as she stated; she didn’t agree to go public until Kavanaugh was actually Trump’s nominee to SCOTUS, making her attack and the attacker of national importance. Both were questioned about approving an FBI investigation to ATTEMPT to get to the truth but only one side openly and directly responded with a resounding YES! If you watched; you know it was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, NOT Judge Brett Kavanaugh who could not give a direct answer to many questions just as he did in the original hearing. He also cried like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar and could not hold his temper and resorted to blaming the Clintons and a reported exchange of millions of dollars…old news at this late date.

    To paraphrase Orin Hatch’s comments from yesterday’s blog “Hostile Sexism”; “If the accusations are true, we need to consider the man he is today.” I totally, fully, 100% agree with that remark; LOOK AT THE MAN WHO SAT BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE YESTERDAY! And consider the difficult but straight forward statements and dignified responses from Dr. Ford; SHE is more qualified to sit on SCOTUS than the weak, indecisive man we watched yesterday.

    About that term “Hostile Sexism”; have you noticed that in these cases where women do come forward it is the accused who react with hostility, not the victim? It is the victims who feel shamed while the accused show anger and often blame the victim. The old “double standard” and “boys will be boys”…remember Trump was 59 years old when he made his infamous “grab them by the pussy” comment and claimed it was “locker room talk”.

    As with the Clarence Thomas fiasco; I believed Anita Hill and I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. But; you and I don’t get to vote this morning at 9:30 on the Kavanaugh appointment. It is the Republican rush to get his seated that prevented a full investigation once these charges became public and they continue their rush to prevent it ever happening.


  4. I saw a couple of excellent tweets that said it perfectly.

    Brett Kavanaugh is acting like every drunk guy at the end of a party who cries and shares his life and hugs you and tells you he loves you and then passes out.


    Dr Ford should be the SCOTUS nominee and Kavanaugh should be in therapy.

  5. I believe that the behavior and events of one’s adolescence help to cement ones character for the rest of their lives. All you need do is look at your own classmates at the class reunion to see how many are really the same as they were in your younger days. Today they may have better manners, be more outgoing, or less outgoing, but basically the class clown, the party boy, miss prissy, and the jock are still there. And the misogynistic drunk is still there too…. just better at hiding it.

  6. From your lips to God’s ears, Ms Kennedy.

    I don’t doubt that the progressive majority, or at least the anti-Trump sentiment, in much of the population is growing. I just wonder how much of a blue tsunami it would take to overcome the strong defenses that the Republican party has built to defend its position as permanent minority-in-control. They are many and varied:

    * Pervasively gerrymandered districts designed to produce Republican-controlled legislatures even when the majority of the population votes otherwise.
    * In many states, voting rules, locations, and registration requirements designed to suppress young and racial-minority voters.
    * An electoral college that functions to select a Republican president in defiance of majority vote, by grossly magnifying the voting power of rural and undeveloped states over the more prosperous, educated, economically growing states.
    * A judiciary stacked from top to bottom with hand-picked partisan Republicans, from whom non-Republican appointees have been systematically barred for decades by one-sided partisan maneuvering.
    * If Kavanaugh is confirmed, a reliable 5-4 partisan Republican majority on the Supreme Court
    which, like Kavanaugh himself, will happily endorse government harassment of Democratic officeholders while barring any investigation or legal accountability for Republicans in office, while happily throwing any election-related lawsuits to “their side”.
    * Selective release of information from government files and “independent” (Russian-funded) news sources — potentially including one or many “October Surprises” timed to race like wildfire through the media world just before the election, leaving no time for fact-checking or refutation.
    * A corrupt bargain with many churches, which openly preach the politics of Republican bigotry from their pulpits in defiance of the Bible and that sandal-wearing long-haired socialist hippie that their predecessors thought they’d gotten rid of for good on Calvary.
    * A President who has openly spent the last two-plus years whipping up violent hatred in his most fanatical followers, encouraging them to attack opponents and potentially overthrow any election result not pleasing to himself.
    * A very strong partisan Republican bent in the leadership and rank-and-file of the police and military, should it come to that.

    Not to be a doomsayer. But those are all things that we would recognize as very troubling signs if they were to appear on the eve of an election in a third world country.

  7. I believe Judge Kavanaugh’s performance yesterday was exactly what was planned. I haven’t been to Facebook since the hearing ended, but I know I will see conservatives angrily denouncing the “treatment of this good man.” Conservatives are always on message. They never waiver from the script. He has energized 45’s base. What everyone else has to realize is that, even tough that base is small in number, they will be there on election day. Talk of blue waves or blue tsunamis will lull the liberals into believing it’s a done deal and half of them won’t show up.


    SHOW UP!


  8. “I believe that the behavior and events of one’s adolescence help to cement ones character for the rest of their lives.”

    Theresa; I fully agree with this statement. Long ago, during my heavy reading of self-help and self-improvement books, it was stated that our basic strengths and weaknesses may change form but are always the same personality traits we formed as we grew up. Both Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh grew up in the “country club” monied class but she had the strength to pull her life back together after a “bad patch” and rise to heights in her chosen field. Kavanaugh carried on his teenage privileged habits; backed by money and politics, to get where he is today…now his position is on somewhat shaky ground and he must continue relying on money and political strengths to continue or move forward. He does not have the inner strength and fortitude to rely on as obviously Dr. Ford carries within herself.

    By the way; this blog still is not on my daily posing on Favorite Places, must go to Facebook to reach it.

  9. Don’t underestimate conservatives and especially conservative women. They might not be marching in pussy hats, but they’re PISSED! After that disgusting circus the Democrats played against Kavanaugh, you can kiss your blue wave goodbye. See you back here on November 7.

  10. I saw some of yesterday’s hearing and it looked to me like the Democrats screwed the pooch. I am a Democrat, but they are weak and defenseless and their rhetoric was wasted and useless. The Republicans used their time to blast Democrats and their pitiful efforts to stop the confirmation.
    Why didn’t Feinstein blow the whistle early rather than try this 11th hour hail mary? Vote Blue and vote younger; the Democrat dinosaurs are going extinct. When do we elect some adults to represent us? I wonder what Vegas oddsmakers are saying about Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

  11. And yet, polling recently showed that Republicans are more fired up to vote in the midterms than Democrats. As awesome as it is that we have nominated so many women and minorities in primaries, I fear they may be more difficult to elect in a general election. I am worried that Democrats are overly optimistic about midterms. All this effort will be for naught unless people actually go to the polls and vote in huge numbers.

  12. JoAnne,
    “If you watched; you know it was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, NOT Judge Brett Kavanaugh who could not give a direct answer to many questions just as he did in the original hearing.”

    Do you really mean this? I think you want to re-arrange some of the words.


    Your unfounded glee will be shoved back down your throat when your wishes and desires are realized. Whey your children and grandchildren come to you and ask why they are sick and can’t afford a doctor, what will you say to them? “Well, Judge Kavanaugh stood up for our values.”
    What will you say to them when they ask you why the criminal president gets away with his crimes and coddles our sworn enemies? “Well, Judge Kavanaugh thinks the president is above the law.” What will you say to them when they can’t find a job that pays off their student loans. “Well, the Republicans think everyone should be on their own and not get government assistance.”

    Then, maybe you are already rich and don’t really care about anything except more money and more power so Republicans can control EVERYBODY’S life while saying they believe in small government.

    Graham and Kavanaugh showed the world the real face of Republicanism and Republicans. Their contorted, hate spewing faces and spittle-spewing rants were a disgrace to the Senate, the Constitution and the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh clearly lacks the temperament to be a Little League umpire let alone a Supreme Court Justice. He’d gleefully throw 10-year olds out of the game for contesting a strike call.

    What a disgusting spectacle from two most disgusting wretches. We must be devolving as a species.

  13. I am one of those millions of angry educated white women who has had enough!

    I have had enough of the “good old boy’s club” keeping men in power without regard to their competence or lack thereof!

    I have had enough of older white men claiming victimhood now that women are speaking out!

    I have had enough of men controlling me and all of the other women in both our state and our country!

    I have had enough of the men in government prostituting themselves out to the highest bidders, no matter what the damage is to our environment, our health, or our standing in the world!

    I have had enough of the men in our federal government looking out only for themselves and their own future wealth!

    I have had enough of men selling us all out in order to maintain their power and wealth!

    I could go on and on to identify the reasons why I and so many other women are angry, but you get the picture.

    Like millions of other women, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

    We are coming after those men and, if necessary, we are out for blood!

  14. Judge Kavanaugh has been accused of attempting to rape Dr. Ford. In his Thursday afternoon (9/27/18) testimony, he stated he was a virgin much longer than people might imagine. He attempted to convince the audience his relationships with females were not physical.

    And then he gave examples of what his extra-curricular activities were. He played two positions on the varsity football team … was on the varsity track team … was on the varsity basketball team. He repeated that information several times.

    So I think Judge Kavanaugh should be given full credit for participating in those sports without lifting a finger.

  15. Becky,

    If you are a female, then SHAME ON YOU for your 8:43 comment!!!

    Furthermore, shame on any white women who continue to support the male bastards holding power in DC.

  16. Trouble is Supremes are seated on the court FOR LIFE!
    Let’s change that.
    But first, we must VOTE BLUE on November 6th.

    Brett’s parents did a good job grooming him but they failed to take the boy and make a non-crybaby man. After that pitiful performance yesterday will he have any hope of being returned to the appeals court bench at the next election? That WAS a good career too, wasn’t it?

  17. Yeah, Becky, what Nancy wrote @ 9:42am,
    or, didn’t you watch Brett fail the course. He, you, and his parents forgot that there is much more at stake than high school. Go to the College of Hard Knocks, Brett – – serve in the military if your parents can’t get you re-seated on the appeals court after your self-made disastrous, tear-choked performance.

  18. Vernon and all; huge MEA CULPA on that misstatement. Thanks for catching it and letting me know; I hope those of you who are familiar with my daily comments, like Vernon, know what I meant. The events of this week have me so upset that I can’t even concentrate to absorb information from Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear”. I put it down till I can think straight…if that can happen midst all of this chaotic “deconstruction” of our government, our current lives and our futures.

    I will remember to VOTE BLUE!

  19. Yesterday I commented:

    “If there is a silver lining to this ominous cloud it is the women. Women friends of mine who have always been virtually apolitical are appalled with what they see and damned angry about it. It is evident in their candidacies and their protests and comments on social media.”

    That seems to also be appropriate in light of today’s subject, and in light Becky’s comment in today’s post I also repeat this from yesterday . . .

    “Finally, I concur with the sentiments that the Trump bigots, misogynists, homophobes, etc., cannot be reasoned with but instead must be bludgeoned to blunt their attacks. Logic, reason, morals, etc. mean nothing to them–only their sick joy in the “freedom” Trump has given them to indulge openly in their sickness.”

    Tomorrow I may bend a spoon with my mind or cause an elephant to vanish. LOL

  20. There is much excitement in the “day after” commentary today, but I think that concerns of the success of victimhood for the aggressor is on the way out and concerns that the blue wave won’t happen are overstated, so at the risk of pulling another “Hillary” (where I was wrong) I think yesterday’s performances cemented Democratic takeover of the House and a better chance at regaining control of the Senate. Flake’s O.K. of Kavanaugh this morning doesn’t help, but even if Kavanaugh wins the vote his fight to stay on any court may be impeded by House impeachment jin the new year, as it should be in light of his incoherent cries of victimhood when the real victims are in his wake.

    I am also sick and tired of hearing Republican senators say there is no evidence while rejecting attempts to get the evidence through FBI efforts. Yesterday was a dog and pony exercise; we’ll (I hope) see a real hearing before the House soon with real evidence, evidence that was neutrally gathered that could either lead to Kavanaugh’s removal from the bench or his innocence, and it doesn’t even end there since there is no statute of limitations on rape or attempted rape in Maryland and the authorities there have indicated they will investigate upon complaint if Dr. Ford should make complaint. It may well be that we only saw the commercial yesterday and that the “show” hasn’t begun yet.

  21. Kavanaugh’s drama queen performance and the Republican questioning of him was fully scripted by professionals in entertainment media. Truth was never part of the play. They all knew what words to say and what emotions to display. I think both Kavanaugh and Graham had Oscar quality performances.

    When her testimony and his performance were over I believed both of them. She credibly described a criminal, life changing assault on a 15 year old girl by a drunken man who pinned her to a bed, clamped his hand over her mouth, and laughed with his bud at her helpless under their power.

    He on the other hand simply forgot the drunk and her. No big deal she’s just a girl.

    I’m a very mild mannered man but if she were my wife or daughter or granddaughter at 15 he would be held accountable.

    It was a crime and should be treated as such and Republicans know that and absolutely must prevent a criminal investigation.

    Why? Election time is upon us so it’s the last chance to further stack the legal deck because Kavanaugh in writing opined that the President (but has now revealed him too ) should be above prosecution.

    His only defense was to recall every moment in his life when she wasn’t being assaulted (to establish is entitlement

    It was in one act a play depicting everything wrong with this country now.

  22. Thank all who wrote. He acted just like a guilty party. Defend and play victim.
    What an angry man he showed himself to be.
    And Senator Graham acted just like someone who also has many skeletons in his closet.
    Wow, they certainly do not have much peace in their souls.

  23. im wondering if the article by juancole.com on ,how firing rosenstine could lead to martial law,bloodshed.. its a reminder how close we may be ,if trump is impeached,and if a kavenaugh court would back trump,no matter the law. im also asking,what are the real intentions the republicans have,with kavenaugh? and if they also have the plan laid out,to stop the people,from exercising their rights? seems were so preoccupied with the events,maybe some direct questions to grassley,and grahm is required,under oath. we should have a demo panel,(im sure the right wouldnt even vote on it) but a senate panel with a demand for their plan,whatever the case,and dont be shy.. demand…we keep a fire burning,maybe its time to throw a good ol protest. Im would like to make a thank you,to Barbera Streisand for her new album,song,dont,lie to me,,(after all,shes a new yorker)someone finnaly got off their ass and put something the people can sing and bring together the masses again(aka,vietnam) i dare the media to shove this away.. willie is doing his part,and be damn the industry,if they continue to ignore,the masses.. tell your radio station,do it,or contact the sponsors,and tell them, no music,no sale… after all,this country is now run by money,, do your part..

  24. The Kavanaugh fiasco is worse today than it was yesterday; if what the Republicans are doing is not legal by not allowing a full investigation, then the Democrats who do nothing are as guilty as the Republicans. The charge brought against Kavanaugh is criminal; in the state of Maryland there is no statute of limitations on such sexual attacks, apparently he can be charged even sitting on the Supreme Court and that would be much worse for SCOTUS and this country than taking the time now to investigate. Criminal charges, felony and misdemeanor level, authorities do not take a vote do decide whether to investigate or not. Is there no Rule of Law governing the U.S. Senate?

  25. I have not felt so discouraged since the night of Nov 9, 2016. I got as much sleep as I did that night as well – none.

    I’ll echo a thought I saw on the internet (so it must be true!): The GOP, while always looking for ways to advance its power, will be content even if they lose both Houses this fall, and even if they lose the White House too in 2 years. They now have a judiciary that will advance their partisan goals for generations. Every liberal achievement of the last century will be challenged in courts that will – after applying to modern society what they imagine a bunch of wealthy mercanatalists were thinking 230 years ago – either find them unconstitutional in their entirety (Section 5 of the VRA, campaign finance laws) or will whittle them away piecemeal until they’re irrelevant (Roe v. Wade). We’ve already seen how discrimination will be justified on the basis of the First Amendment (Masterpiece Cakeshop). Does anyone imagine the result would be the same if Brown v. Board of Education were to be argued today? Recall that it took 60 years before Brown reversed Plessy v. Ferguson.

    Of course even if they content themselves with locking in their antidemocratic actions of the last 2 years, they’ll continue to stir the pot while out of power, further dividing the country they claim to love so much while despising 2/3 of the people who live in it. And regardless of the results this November, they can do enormous damage during the lame duck session. It’ll be their last chance to make their legislative mark for a while. None of them have to face voters for at least 2 years, and those that aren’t coming back (defeated, retired) won’t have to face them ever again.

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