|Justice Brett Kavanaugh|
While Democrats continue to look strong in House races, Republicans Senate candidates are surging in the polls. This morning, an Emerson poll showed Republican Dean Heller, the most vulnerable incumbent Republican in the Senate, up 7 points. The most recent polling of the next most vulnerable Republican seat, the one vacated by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake who didn't seek re-election, show the Republican Martha McSally up 6 points. Democratic efforts to take Republican seats in Tennessee and Texas appear to be falling apart post-Kavanaugh, as Republicans now have double digit leads in both states. Meanwhile, in North Dakota, the most vulnerable incumbent Heidi Heitkamp trails by 12 points.
Still waiting on post-Kavanaugh polls in Missouri and Indiana, but I expect the Republican candidates in both states to have moved ahead. If the Kavanaugh-impact holds on for the next three weeks, I look for the GOP not only to continue control of the Senate, but to pick up as many as three additional seats.
The 2018 election was well on its way to being a referendum on President Donald J. Trump's first two years in office. The historically unpopular President Trump agreed to the notion of his first (and hopefully only) mid-term being a referendum on his term in office. And it was not going well for Republicans. Not only was the GOP poised to lose as many as 40 seats in the House, they even faced the possibility of losing the Senate despite having an incredibly favorable map.
Then Brett Kavanaugh happened. The President is simply wrong when he says Kavanaugh was "proven innocent." The fact is we simply don't know what happened 36 years ago. But to many, people it was seen, rightfully so, as a left-wing attempt at 11th hour character assassination to stop the appointment of a well-qualified justice to the Supreme Court. A lot of people, even many women, are offended by the notion that a man who is accused of sexual misconduct for something that happened decades earlier should be assumed to be guilty, even without corroborating evidence. They were likewise turned off by the mobs of people (including some who were paid by left-wing groups) who descended on the Washington, D.C. to ambush Republican members of Senate in an attempt to create viral video moments. The strategy backfired, big time.
As a conservative Republican, I am embarrassed every single day that Donald J. Trump is the leader of my party and has inherited the legacy of Ronald Reagan. As was proven yesterday during the 60 Minutes interview, Trump is incredibly ignorant and lacks the temperament and judgment to be President. You could walk into any downtown Indianapolis building, after hours, find a janitor cleaning the place, and that person would be better suited to be President of the United States than one Donald J. Trump.
But the fact that we have in office, thanks to my Republican Party the most unqualified President in history, doesn't make the Democrats right about the issues or that any tactics are okay in the pursuit of victory. The Democrats were spectacularly wrong in how they handled the Kavanaugh appointment and the polls reflect that.
Three weeks remain to return the mid-term election to being a referendum on Trump instead of on the Democratic Party policies and tactics. That, however, may not be enough time to save several Democratic Senate candidates, including Indiana's Joe Donnelly.