Republican candidates already facing an uphill battle in the midterm elections due to the unpopularity of President Donald Trump are now facing a new challenge as the appointment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spirals into accusations of sexual assault, energizing female voters appalled by Republican antics.
According to the New York Times, the Republican Party had hoped to use the successful installation of a fifth conservative jurist to the Supreme Court as a success story in the midterm elections.
Instead, accusations by Christine Ford, a California professor, that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while drunk when they were teens has turned a slam-dunk GOP-majority Senate approval into turmoil and ignited a furor over how Republicans treat women.
According to the Times, "leaders in both parties are increasingly doubtful ... Republicans can wield the Kavanaugh nomination as a cudgel without risking unpredictable repercussions in the midterm elections."
The report goes on to state that Kavanaugh's appointment was seen as a winner in conservative states, but no longer as women voters -- who are already fleeing the GOP -- are watching how Republicans are treating Ford.
In particular is concern about a scheduled hearing where Ford is expected to tell her story.
“If this is actually on TV next week, and women see she is telling the truth, that could be very, very persuasive,” explained former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
According to John Danforth, the former Missouri Republican senator who urged GOP Senate Judiciary Committee members to employ a female attorney to question Ford during the hearings, Ford's appearance could be a no-win situation.
“Members of the Senate, especially in the MeToo era, have got to walk on eggshells,” Mr. Danforth remarked.
Additionally, Republicans are worried President Donald Trump may ramp up his rhetoric against Ford, after attacking her on Twitter this past week.
Asked what Trump should say about Ford's allegation against Kavanaugh, Danforth curtly replied, “The less the better.”