The decider will be women in 2020 elections as feminists have now started to question ‘what’s appropriate behaviour’ in political discourse.
Those who thought that the ugly picture of protests, political accusations and eventually an FBI probe, between the nomination and Senate confirmation vote of Brett Kavanaugh would end soon after he got seated as a Supreme Court Judge, are giving a rethink.
Reason: Over a week later, Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is turning out to be a “political casualty” for the Republicans, who are now engaged in a “full-blown political battle” against the Democrats. First flames of this are going to fire up the 6 November mid-term polls with Democrats all out in open ramping support to their “come and vote campaign”. It follows with the threats to affect President Donald Trump’s second term elections in 2020.
Justice Kavanaugh nomination is going to “touch many chords, eventually all reaching the polling booths”. From politicians to feminists to civil liberties unions to rights activists to migrant unions to immigration experts and think tanks, all are closely looking into future as they see some “hard times coming”.
As says Diane Butler, an immigration attorney from Seattle and a board member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): “In immigration context, Judge Kavanaugh has the history to revise laws. In one such case involving a Brazilian restaurant, which had hired Brazilian chefs to provide authentic cuisine, he overlooked and sidelined the argument of cultural knowledge is a significant part of special knowledge.”
Even the South Asians, particularly the Indian American community is watching closely amidst the buzz of “judiciary getting politically biased”. What do you say about the current strength of judiciary, majority of who have been appointed by President Trump? Apart from getting Kavanaugh seated, Trump and Republicans managed 15 more judges, leaving a substantial mark on the federal court system. A strong Trump critic, New York Times wrote, “With the addition of 15 judges, Trump has appointed 29 appeals court judges, which is far more than any other president since the creation of the regional circuit court system in 1891…approximately one out of every six appeals court judges in the country is a Trump pick.”
Judge Kavanaugh now constitutes a conservative majority on the Supreme Court and he’s full of support for President Trump, believing in “Buy American, Hire American”. With his past court ruling in immigration and migrant labour cases, some see a “tough and hard immigration scenario ahead”.
“Immigration scenario is going to get tough…more limitations can be imposed, point system can be hardened. And it doesn’t exclude South Asia, including India, as these said measures would in line with curbing the ‘chain migration’ to limit the number of sponsoring family visas. Many Indians are already opposing that move,” says Aparna Dave, another immigration attorney in Maryland area.
Echoes Butler: “There are many such cases where he’s hard on immigrant labour and their rights to work…he’s going to leave his mark and an indirect bearing on the politics involving the migrant voters.”
And that means Democrats reaching out to their strong South Asian vote bank more intensively and coincidentally, the mid-term polls will be witnessing the largest number of Indian Americans in recent times.
The women, another political constituency, are already in the arena to fight the Republicans. Feminists have raised the protest banner and this time many from the Republicans itself. Signalling to fight the Republicans tooth and nail, women protesters have already started rewriting their placards, have descended on the Capitol from all over and have started to target President Trump for his “anti-women rants” and his support to Kavanaugh.
Republican Senator Susan Collins’ support for Kavanaugh and rejecting the claims of sexual assault victim Christine Blasey Ford for “not being corroborated” has made many women to run against her in Maine in 2020. Collins may have to fight her toughest political battle ever with Sara Gideon, the Democratic Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, and Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s National-Security Adviser already hinting to contest her.
Interestingly, recent poll surveys in the US show the women voter base of Republicans is shrinking. Says Rina Shah, a Republican strategist and founder of Women Influencer Network: “Being a woman in politics and while working with my organisation, which works to have more women elected, there is a strong evidence to suggest that women are leaving Republican Party…more are contesting as an independent or as unaffiliated members.”
Shah attributes this political trend to two clearly visible reasons. “President Trump’s reach out to women supporters have not been as desired and he’s not mobilised them enough to be on his side. Moreover, his own profile, challenged with nearly 20 allegations in personal life, is another put-off for women against the Republicans.”
Adds Rajeev (Raj) Goyle, a popular young Democrat leader from New York who represented a Republican district in the Kansas House and a known Indian American face: “Undoubtedly, the Kavanaugh nomination will contribute to Republicans losing House seats, while in the Senate it may be harder for us (Democrats).”
It works both ways, says Goyle, adding, “While the Kavanaugh nomination has motivated the Republicans, making them emboldened, Trump has also inspired Democratic enthusiasm and political campaign momentum to a record high. In 2020 if the dynamics are normal and the process isn’t rigged, we Democrats have a great chance to win.”
The decider will be women in 2020 as feminists have started to question “what’s appropriate behaviour” in political discourse in reference to the “discrimination” against Ford, while defending Kavanaugh in the name of “a young man with exemplary judicial records”.
Perhaps a political analysis in New Yorker titled, “The political aftermath of the Senate’s final Kavanaugh vote” sums up the mood building up in the US. Quoting a Town Hall gathering of women in Holyoke, Massachusetts, it wrote, quoting a local women leader: “I watched powerful men helping another powerful man…I thought, time’s up…It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix a broken government, and that includes a woman at the top.”
Seems like women and liberals are gearing to take centre stage during the midterm and 2020 elections to transform the politics of this country. Perhaps, the current public mood says so!
Maneesh Pandey is Senior Executive Editor of ITV Network and currently a Fulbright Visiting Professor at Delaware State University, United States.