Kavanaugh swing votes facing new surge of progressive pressure

Progressive activists and other left-leaning outside groups are ramping up their efforts to convince a bipar...

Posted: Oct 4, 2018 7:35 AM
Updated: Oct 4, 2018 7:35 AM

Progressive activists and other left-leaning outside groups are ramping up their efforts to convince a bipartisan band of swing senators to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Their 11th-hour efforts -- mostly targeting Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Arizona's Jeff Flake, along with uncommitted Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota -- got another surge of adrenaline on Tuesday night, when President Donald Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Brett Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Donald Trump

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Jeff Flake

Joe Manchin

Misc people

Political Figures - US

Politics

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Sexual misconduct

Society

US Congress

US Senate

Voters and voting

Activism

Heidi Heitkamp

Less than two hours after Trump spoke in Mississippi, the liberal group Demand Justice posted a digital ad with a recording of the President's words played over a black and white still image of Ford -- eyes closed, right hand raised -- before she gave her opening statement last week.

"Trump mocking Dr. Blasey Ford at a rally makes it clear: if these so-called Senate moderates vote for Kavanaugh now, they are siding with Trump's cruelty over the bravery of a sexual assault survivor," said Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department, who leads the new nonprofit.

The ad, he said in a tweet when it was first posted, will target voters in Maine, Alaska and Arizona.

The People's Defense, a grassroots coalition led by the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, also began running a new radio spot on Tuesday, taking aim at Flake, the retiring Republican who set in a motion a deal last week to delay the Senate vote on Kavanaugh pending a new FBI background investigation.

"Senator Flake now faces a choice: confirm the most dishonest nominee in modern history, or stand with the people, the truth, and the rule of law," the ad says before giving listeners an office number to call.

On the ground, groups like MoveOn and the Center for Popular Democracy, whose co-executive director Ana Maria Archila was one of the two women who confronted Flake last week -- in a raw and wrenching scene that quickly went viral -- over his decision then to back Kavanaugh, are seeking to mobilize nationwide protests and vigils.

"Thousands of people are taking action in DC and in communities across the country to put pressure on key Senators and urge them to do the right thing by voting down this nomination," said MoveOn spokesman Karthik Ganapathy.

Anger over the initial allegations, he said, had been compounded by "the Judiciary Committee's eagerness to ignore them, and stirred by Dr. Blasey Ford's compelling testimony last week."

The "Be A Hero" campaign, led by activist Ady Barkan, a young father dying of ALS, is promoting the gatherings on Wednesday night and what they hope will be mass protests against Kavanaugh in Washington on Thursday and Friday.

In a series of tweets late Tuesday, Barkan called on the anti-Kavanaugh grassroots to "throw in $25 to help us pay for the buses and food and bail money that we need to resist this nomination." For those who planned to travel, he and others have circulated a form for gathering names and contacts that also asks, "Can you participate in civil disobedience/risk arrest?"

"When millions of Americans heard Dr. Ford's historic testimony last week, they believed her," Barkan said in a statement on Wednesday. "And in Brett Kavanaugh's rage, sexual assault survivors felt their own private pain echoed on a national scale. Now they are refusing to be ignored ... We have never seen this kind of activist intensity around a Supreme Court nomination."

In the aftermath of Ford's appearance on Capitol Hill and, as importantly, the politically charged and at times petulant defense offered by Kavanaugh, the American Civil Liberties Union took the rare step on Saturday of publicly opposing his confirmation. On Monday, it began running more than $1 million of ads in four states -- West Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska and Colorado -- that compared the judge to former President Bill Clinton and convicted sex offender Bill Cosby.

Trump's performance on Tuesday night in Mississippi, coming perhaps only a day or two before the FBI wraps its follow-up probe into Kavanaugh, enraged activists, emboldened the organized opposition and potentially swung the political calculus for the fence-sitting senators whose decisions will ultimately decide Kavanaugh's fate.

On Wednesday, the Republicans among them condemned Trump's remarks in interviews. Collins called them "just plain wrong," Murkowski said they were "wholly inappropriate" and "unacceptable." Flake, who labeled the comments "obviously insensitive and appalling" was the only one of the three to say they would not affect his final decision.

Manchin, who along with Heitkamp is facing a tough red state re-election fight this fall, said Trump's words "were wrong," but that he remains "completely undecided" on Kavanaugh pending the FBI's findings.

The pair's indecision has drawn the ire of progressive left groups. The Justice Democrats, a relatively new organization that scored a series of notable wins during the primaries backing candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, is both rallying supporters to protests and casting Heitkamp and Manchin's deliberations as evidence of the need for progressive alternatives.

Manchin easily defeated a Justice Democrats-backed progressive challenger, Paula Jean Swearengin, in a Democratic primary this spring. But the group's executive director Alexandra Rojas said his potential vote to confirm Kavanaugh would further "validate the necessity of getting in early (to primary contests) with working class candidates."

"The fact that Manchin and Heitkamp are undecided right now," Rojas said, "is exactly the reason why we challenged Manchin."

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Muscle Shoals
Mostly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Decatur
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 48°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 45°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 687751

Reported Deaths: 8430
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby765191128
Davidson70950665
Knox38829400
Hamilton34687327
Rutherford33228285
Unassigned22839126
Williamson21449140
Sumner18262232
Out of TN1618380
Montgomery14450149
Wilson14449157
Sullivan12606211
Blount11914125
Washington11911191
Maury10962123
Bradley1079191
Sevier10495108
Putnam9952136
Madison9131179
Robertson764585
Hamblen6990109
Anderson6792103
Greene6598108
Tipton621065
Gibson5639111
Coffee562882
Cumberland540072
Dickson536378
Bedford532589
Roane521279
Carter5109112
Lawrence508969
McMinn508573
Warren498753
Loudon495550
Jefferson477975
Dyer474982
Monroe457162
Hawkins446268
Franklin412161
Obion399679
Fayette397851
Rhea382456
Lincoln379444
Marshall345436
Cocke343856
Weakley339948
Cheatham336230
Henderson333057
Campbell324540
Giles321772
White311343
Carroll310459
Hardeman309452
Hardin298147
Lauderdale293731
Macon288850
Wayne261319
Henry260858
Overton253843
DeKalb242341
Haywood239845
McNairy238642
Smith231327
Trousdale228814
Marion228431
Scott225431
Hickman223534
Fentress212831
Claiborne212729
Grainger209035
Johnson201832
Morgan189015
Crockett180738
Bledsoe174210
Chester173837
Unicoi167043
Cannon157719
Lake155519
Decatur147326
Polk143617
Union139422
Grundy139321
Sequatchie137118
Humphreys132817
Benton132135
Lewis127520
Meigs114416
Stewart105520
Jackson104021
Perry94725
Clay93926
Houston93922
Moore8009
Pickett67919
Van Buren6607
Hancock4056

Community Events