The U.S. president wanted the war on his conservative Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh – and he got it. He does not care who pays for it.
America has had catastrophic days. The battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has shaken, torn and incited the country. Certainly, the Republicans and President Donald Trump won. They installed their fifth man at the Supreme Court and cemented a conservative majority among the judges. But at what cost? The credibility of the Senate and the Court is in ruins. Two of the most important political institutions, on which America's democracy is built on, are badly damaged, perhaps irreparably. Everywhere, the country seethes with anger.
This could have been different. The dispute over Kavanaugh, accused of sexually assaulting a woman in high school, has certainly been difficult. Nobody could tell for sure what the truth was. There was no evidence, it was one person's word against the other's, a credibly presented accusation stood against the presumption of innocence. This dispute could not be solved without causing harm. The subject was too painful. However, the dispute did not have to wreak havoc the way it actually did.
The dilemma in which the Senate was stuck became visible with the vote of two Republicans. Both voted differently and both explained their vote reasonably and convincingly. And both were right, in a way. Lisa Murkowski, a senator from Alaska, voted against Kavanaugh. She said that a man who is suspected of rape lacks public confidence, which is necessary for a judge at all times. Based on the same facts, her colleague, Susan Collins from Maine, came to the contrary conclusion. Not to confirm Kavanaugh would mean to condemn him only on the basis of an unproven allegation, she said. Collins voted for Kavanaugh.
Many Have an Interest in Radicalization: They Thrive on It
If all parties involved in this dispute had behaved like these two Republicans – balanced in their judgment, respectful of others’ views – the U.S. might have dodged the bullet. The country would be battered and estranged right now but not traumatized and dangerously radicalized. But instead of calming the anger, both sides have whipped up their supporters to total hysteria.
That was intentional. The bitter truth is: There have been and there are many with an interest in this radicalization. They make a living from it, they collect votes and donations with it, they earn money or reach their audience with it.
These people are headed by the president. Trump could have replaced Kavanaugh with another, equally conservative candidate for the good of the country. But he is a politician who draws his strength from turning every difference of opinion into a merciless battle. For him, politics is war, and he is convinced that this war will be won by he who never yields or gives up.
Trump is polarizing and radicalizing all of life in the U.S. He divides his people into hostile tribes. Trump wanted this victory so badly, but he wanted this battle even more. He doesn't care who pays the price.