In what may be a dress rehearsal for a 2020 presidential run, the U.S. Senate’s chief Kavanaugh inquisitor Kamala Harris has come to Ohio and is talking about translating Democrat anger over the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation into votes on Nov. 6.
Angry Democrats need to channel that emotion into voting Republicans out of office, she said.
“Elections matter,” the California Democrat told an audience of about 1,000 at a state dinner in Columbus Sunday night before heading to Cleveland Monday to campaign for Ohio Democrats. The dinner raised thousands of dollars for candidates Richard Cordray, Sherrod Brown and Aftab Pureval, among others.
Harris, in the eyes of many Republicans, acted on emotions in during the Kavanaugh hearings, refusing to look at the facts. At one point, she and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) walked out of the Senate Judiciary Committee room.
But, for Harris, it was the Republicans who pulled off “a sham and a disgrace” during the Kavanaugh hearings. All because they refused to let an unfounded, unsubstantiated, uncorroborated accusation that came out of nowhere from 36 years ago fail to derail a judge with an impeccable career on the bench.
She said the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was a slap in the face to all victims of sexual assault.
“Let’s speak the truth that it was a denial of justice for the women of this country and sexual assault survivors, men and women,” Harris said in her state dinner speech to the Ohio Democratic Party.
She added that “what we have been witnessing is a display and an exercise of raw power.”
“Power that is being exercised not just to win, but to demean, and deflate, and defeat. And we are better than this.”
In the eyes of Harris, Booker and their Democrat colleagues, Justice Kavanaugh should have been treated like a sexual predator based on an accusation, even though his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, could offer nothing that proved he was the man who assaulted her when she was 15 years old.
This shows it’s not about women or victims of abuse, said Mandi Merritt, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. It’s about obstruction and resistance.
“As Ohio Democrats gathered to embrace lead obstructionist Kamala Harris, they continue to show that they value resistance over results,” Merritt said.
Democrats will use the Kavanaugh hearings to energize their base. But the same is true on the GOP side, she said.
“While Democrats like Sherrod Brown and Richard Cordray stand in the way of real progress such as tax reform, regulatory relief, and selecting fair and qualified Supreme Court justices, Ohioans are seeing real results thanks to strong Republican leadership,” Merritt added. “Kamala Harris may energize the Democratic Party’s resist-at-all-costs base, but Republican’s winning message and resumption of results will carry us forward to victory in November.”
Elections matter, Harris told Ohio Democrats, “and so let this last week — and all that we have experienced in terms of our frustrations and our anger and our sadness — let’s use this week to give us all that extra energy that we know we have.”
Harris, 53, is weighing a 2020 presidential run. Thus, she visited the state that mirrors most closely the nation in its divided voting population – Ohio.
Republicans control every branch of Ohio state government, but it could swing back the other way if Republicans don’t turn out on Nov. 6 like they did in 2016.
Early voting begins Tuesday.
Harris tried to compare today’s anger over the #MeToo movement to the civil rights era of the 1960s.
“This is a moment in time that is requiring all of us collectively to look in the mirror and ask a question, that question being: ‘Who are we?'” she said. “And part of the answer, Ohio, is we are better than this.”
Harris then rolled out the same talking points that Democrats across the nation are using in their campaigns for the 2018 midterm elections.
When Americans lose sleep or “wake up in the middle of the night” with worries, Harris said it’s not about immigration or gun rights or abortion. It’s about “kitchen table issues like paying the bills, affording health care, paying for college or getting or keeping a job.”
Merritt refers Harris to recent economic reports. Unemployment is at 3.7 percent, lowest in 50 years. African-Americans have the lowest unemployment in 65 years. Wages are rising for the first time in years. And good-paying manufacturing jobs are returning from overseas.
Merritt said Ohio voters rejected Democrats’ policies in 2016, when Trump resoundingly won the state. And so, yes, Harris is right. Elections do matter. Even if Democrats don’t want to accept the consequences.
“By bringing in California Kamala to attempt to rally middle America, the Ohio Democratic Party has shown just how out-of-touch they’ve become,” Merritt said. “Sherrod Brown, Richard Cordray and the Democratic ticket have left hardworking Ohioans behind and instead embraced a coastal-elitist agenda that is wrong for Ohio.”
– – –
Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.