Updated: Feb 24, 2019
Sixty-two days until the 2018 midterm elections. Would it be hyperbole to suggest that the fate of American democracy hangs in the balance? Okay, let's put it another way. The consequences of allowing the Trump regime to rampage unchecked for two more years will be with us far beyond the end of the Trump era even if the Democrats manage to sweep the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2020. We need to elect a Democratic majority in the House in November—Senate too, but that's a long shot—so they can use the power of Congress to conduct investigations and aggressive oversight of the executive branch.
Today's Resist Trump Tuesday call to action is "Stop Kavanaugh, Protect the Mueller Investigation." I endorse the call to stop Kavanaugh with reluctance. Under ordinary circumstances the president's authority to make executive appointments with advice and consent of the Senate should be respected, even when the appointment is as consequential as Supreme Court justice and the nominee holds views and positions at odds with mine. The nation has become increasingly ungovernable. A hard line on Kavanaugh only puts us further down that road. The tactics that Democrats as the minority must employ to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination are sure to be cited by Republicans as precedent when the roles are reversed. Oh, wait. Merrick Garland.
These are not ordinary circumstances. There is abundant evidence from the president's own tweets that he believes the role of the attorney general and the Justice Department is to protect him and his allies and to do harm to his political foes. The White House continues a desperate, scorched-earth campaign to smear and undermine the Mueller investigation which has already uncovered sufficient criminal activity to convict Paul Manafort on eight counts, secure numerous numerous guilty pleas and indictments, &c. Under these circumstances Brett Kavanaugh's documented positions on executive authority and presidential accountability (Andrew Prokop, Brett Kavanaugh wrote that presidents shouldn’t be “distracted” by criminal investigations, Vox, July 9, 2018) alone are compelling reason to oppose his nomination. There are plenty of other reasons too.
Call, email, write letters to your senators even if they are red state Democrats who may feel pressure to vote to confirm, even if they are Republicans who flushed their integrity down the toilet when the Trump train pulled out of the station. It is what we can do.
Optimism is not my default existential position. The caliber of some of the Democratic candidates for Congress in November is heartening. Among the best is Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who is running for Congress in Oregon's 2nd district against incumbent Republican Greg Walden. She is impressive. Don't take my word for it. Check her out.
Keep the faith.