To understand why women overwhelmingly support a Democratic takeover of Congress—a landslide majority of 65 percent, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post survey—it’s worth parsing some of the initial Republican responses to the sexual-assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. The remarks explain why, on the cusp of the first national elections of the #MeToo era, Republicans on the ballot are confronted with a gender gap that threatens to become an unbridgeable canyon.
After Christine Blasey Ford, a clinical-psychology professor, put her name to the accusation, announcing publicly that she’d passed a polygraph and had shared her story in a 2012 therapy session, Senator Orrin Hatch, a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s all-male Republican contingent, told the cameras: “This woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.” He also said that even if the assault accusation were true, the past wouldn’t matter so much: “It would be hard for senators not to consider who he is today.”
His Republican colleague Bob Corker voiced sympathy for Kavanaugh, but none for his accuser: “I mean, I can’t imagine the horror of being accused of something like this.” Donald Trump Jr. joked on Instagram that Kavanaugh had merely had a schoolyard crush. And an unnamed lawyer close to the White House said that the alpha gender is under assault: “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.”