It was once more with feeling. Thousands of protesters in Washington and cities around the United States gathered with a last-ditch appeal to their senators — “please don’t send Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court”.
But those who were going to turn had already declared it.
And the final vote was a procedure. In its wake, a chasm of resentment — from liberals who believe the judge is unfit to sit on the highest court of the land, and from conservatives who say he has been treated like a rapist for pure political gain.
It’s a Democrat dirty tricks plot, say many. The President, Donald Trump, went further, accusing the anti-Kavanaugh protesters of being paid stooges.
“Look at all the professionally made signs,” he tweeted, “paid for by Soros and others”.
In a single tweet he dismissed thousands of protesters who had serious misgivings about Mr Kavanaugh both as a judge and a man — and the millions nationally who support and believe Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony that Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in their teens.
They are not the people the President is attempting to reach.
Trump has a message to sell
Mr Trump was in Minnesota for yet another pre-election rally with the faithful. And what a message he had to sell. A fresh victory on the Supreme Court and the lowest unemployment figures in half a century. But all of that means little of he can’t energise his red base to care enough to get out and vote in the mid-term elections in a month’s time.
If he loses control of Congress, he is in greater danger of impeachment. And if the Democrats win both chambers, his powers to legislate and appoint officials will be gutted. A lame-duck President. And we know how much he hates losers.
Mr Trump now has the numbers he has wanted in the Supreme Court. Mr Kavanaugh will be the fifth conservative on the nine-judge bench.
And, as it’s a job for life, a relatively young Mr Kavanaugh could be ruling on fundamental issues like abortion, immigration and presidential powers for 40-plus years.
During his angry testimony last week, Mr Kavanaugh accused some Democrats of plotting against him. “What goes around comes around,” he warned. Many Democrats see that as a threat of political payback and cite it as a key reason why he should not be on the Supreme Court.
In an opinion piece this week, Mr Kavanaugh conceded he regretted some things he had said at the hearing, but also promised his judgements would be based on the law, not politics.
It’s an assurance that will be carefully analysed every time he makes a decision that is regarded as politically loaded.
Political fault lines deepen
After days of agonising, it’s over — the vote that is. The consequences will flow across the nation for many years to come. The #MeToo movement has been energised over what its supporters see as yet another example of a powerful man being believed over a woman.
It’s likely, though not guaranteed, that the Democrats will see an increased vote, especially from urban women, in the November midterms. Equally, it’s possible more Republicans will be motivated to vote by what they see as the gross mistreatment of a great man, Mr Kavanaugh.
— Cassandra 🦇 Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) October 6, 2018
How that all plays out in the final ledger is too difficult to predict right now. But, sadly, there is one result that is crystal clear: the political fault lines that cut across this great nation have deepened — the volatility, the hostility fuelled by mistrust, even hatred for each other, made worse in the Disunited States.