Thanks, in part, to Sen. Joe Manchin, Brett Kavanaugh is now a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Forty-nine other senators voted to confirm, but Manchin was the only Democrat. Still, if Manchin had voted no, Vice President Mike Pence could have broken the tie.
(Two Republicans abstained from what may have been the most important vote in their careers. Montanan Steve Daines attended his daughter’s same-day wedding in his home state instead and Alaskan Lisa Murkowski, opposed to Kavanaugh, voted present.)
The vote was a do-or-die moment for Democrats, who for 50 years or more have relied on a left-leaning court (and swishy swing voters) to legislate from the bench and “enact” measures that could not be forced through Congress.
Which explains why the character of a nominee with impeccable credentials and an exemplary record had to be attacked and destroyed by any means necessary – including the demonization of beer-drinking and the parsing of inane adolescent jokes from a high school yearbook.
All of which left Manchin between a rock and a hard place. In other words, a Democrat running for reelection in a state that went for Trump by greater margins than in any other state.
Should he cross his constituents or cross his party? Which is likely to be less forgiving, even if his vote is not the deciding factor? Which is more likely to cut him some slack, especially if his vote is not the deciding factor?
What motivated Manchin’s lone Democrat vote in favor of Kavanaugh?
“Joe Manchin only votes in the interest of Joe Manchin,” says his Republican opponent in next month’s election. “President Trump had all the votes he needed to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but Manchin waited,” State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey asserts, “in order to try to save his political career.”
We’ll soon know if Manchin’s vote made a difference for Manchin.