What’s Going to Happen with White, Suburban Women in the Midterm Elections?

Will white suburban women, angered over the Kavanaugh confirmation, vote with the Democrats this November? Nate Silver has been talking about it. It was a subject of the podcast, The Daily, this week. Dan Drezner wrote about it. Well, this blogger is about as white and suburban and female as it comes, so how about I answer this question?

So, I was completely engrossed in the drama around the Kavanaugh hearing. CNN was on all day long. I was on twitter all day long. And so were all my writer/academic/political friends. Typically, I tweet sparingly and get about 50K impressions per month. In that two-week period, I got over 500K impressions.

During the hearings, I would periodically put my hair up in a messy ponytail and leave the house. I would turn to a local friend and say “CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT’S GOING ON?!!!” and she would be like, “what are you talking about? Let’s talk about the kids’ prom.” Seriously, this made very little dent outside the world of super crazy political people like myself.

And among the handful of local friends who were engaged in the discussion, there were some who were very upset at Kavanaugh and were sure that he was a drunken rapist. And there were some that looked at Christine Ford and thought she was batshit crazy. Seriously. Some made that determination because she has “the skin of an alcoholic”, as one said; others were a couple degrees away from her former high school friends and heard stories.

Sexual assault was a common topic. Pretty much everyone I spoke with said that they had been assaulted when they were in their 20s. These assaults, they said, weren’t nearly-raped-level of assault; it was exposure, grabbing without consent, kissing without consent, gross comments, and minor fooling around when totally loaded and impossible to give consent. Even the Kavanaugh supporters said that this happened to them constantly when they were young and that they were worried about their daughters and nieces, but they also said that they got over those assaults really quickly. It was just a way of life back then, and it certainly didn’t cause anyone to put two front doors on their house. Way worse things happened to them as they got older, like the death of a parent and cancer.

This morning, as I was watching the Today Show and waiting for Ian’s school bus, the ads for local elections were all about taxes. The only reference to women and #MeToo in those came from the Republican opponent to Senator Bob Menendez, because he has a hooker and corruption problem. Sigh. I’m still voting for him anyway, but I’m not happy about it.

I’m not sure that many people are going to switch parties, because of Kavanaugh and other accumulated issues. It might increase voting turnout, but it will even out. Democrats and Republicans were equally fired up over the hearings. Sorry, it’s a bummer of a prediction, but there it is.

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Warren in Our Archives

We’re talked a lot about Elizabeth Warren over the years. Here are some links from the archives:

 

 

Elizabeth Warren’s Roots

Since a spontaneous discussion has sprung up about Elizabeth Warren’s announcement that she’s part Cherokee, I thought I would give the discussion its own post.

Steve’s the genealogist in our family. My family really quickly goes back to Ireland and Italy. Between shabby record keeping, small villages where everybody has the same last name, and foreign language issues, I very quickly got a dead-end on my research. Steve  has family on both sides that goes back before the Revolutionary War, so he has easier access to records. He’s probably related to some of you.

Now, let’s talk about Warren. So, her announcement is surely a sign that she’s going to run in 2020. One of my friends on Facebook linked to an article with a headline, “Warren is 1% Cherokee, and 100% Running for President in 2020.” I think she hoped to galvanize the left behind her, as she attacked Trump for his Pocahontas comments, but I’m seeing a lot of “meh” on Twitter. I think it was a misstep.

Alright, let’s talk genealogy. Who has mapped out their families? Any famous relatives? Anybody do the DNA kits? Those kits are apparently a sham, but I got one for Steve for his birthday. My Italian aunt did it and it said that she was 99 percent Italian with 1 percent Eastern European. Steve said that there were supposedly Trojans that when to Italy after the Trojan War, so that might be true.

 

Our Political Circus

Yesterday, I spent ten hours sitting on a sofa in the family room watching the entire Senate confirmation hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. It will rank up there with other momentous political and social events that have happened in my life – the space shuttle destruction, 9/11, the election of Donald Trump. It was traumatic and horrific and personally scarring.

It should have never happened like that. That inquiry should have happened behind closed doors and been buttressed by an independent investigation. Instead, two individuals, and their families, were publicly destroyed and humiliated.

And everybody has their own experiences that sway their interpretation of events. As a woman who grew up in the 1980s, I had bad experiences with the popular, sporty boys, as well as my own stories of beer filled parties. And a guy tweeted me his own story about how he was falsely accused of a crime when he was in college. Also, I’ve talked with a lot of women who aren’t sympathetic with Blasey Ford. They tell me that guys did this stuff all the time back then and it never stuck with them.

But those experiences cannot sway our interpretation of events.  Everybody has their own stories, and it’s coloring our views of events, which is why none of us should have been involved.

There’s a lot at stake beyond these people. There’s the flagging public trust in our institutions. There’s the ability of a government to function effectively separately from partisanship. There’s the hope — a slim hope admittedly — that the justices of our supreme court can make decisions based on an impartiality examination of the constitution, wisdom, and compassion. All that was trashed along with the reputations of the individuals at the center of this circus.

We could have done better. We should have done better.

And this isn’t over. Republicans are now galvanized behind Lindsay Graham and will show up to vote in November, when they were, maybe, going to stay home. And the Democrats are going to never be quiet about Kavanaugh’s questionable past. When they win in 2020, they will vote to increase the number of justices on the court. Instead, they should put term limits on the justices. This lifetime appointment thing should be over.

This was terrible.

That said, I think that Kavanaugh should step down. It’s impossible to believe that he will be an impartial judge after this experience.

 

Believable

I’ve been stuck on the sofa with an iPad in hand tweeting for the past three hours. Blasey Ford was very believable. Kavanaugh is in trouble.

She put forward all sorts of details that made her story ring true, including the fact that she heard the guys laugh after they messed with her. A group of cool, popular guys laughing after terrorizing a young, fragile girl is very believable. Quick flashback to several incidents in my high school hallway. I think I spent most of the first two years of high school avoiding certain guys, sometimes dodging into the bathroom to hide from them.

Kavanaugh is going to have a very, very hard time digging himself out of this. Someone on Twitter said that Trump is furious and stomping around the White House, because nobody told him that Blasey Ford was so believable.

The GOP’s independent prosecutor is making a hash of things, because there’s really not many holes in Blasey Ford’s story. Yes, she’s a fragile person, who has admittedly struggled with some mental health issues, but she’s a professional and her story is consistent and honest about the issues that she doesn’t remember. I don’t think we’re going to get anymore info by continued questions. I think we should just move to Kavanaugh.

Tragedy

Before we get all pundit-y gleeful about the upcoming Kavanaugh circus at 10, let’s remember that what we are witnessing is most definitely a TRAGEDY. Two people are about to be humiliated and tortured and only one person actually deserves it.

Ford is most likely truthful and accurate, but there is a chance that she’s not. I would feel much, much better if he had been voted out because of his position on Roe v Wade. That’s clean and neat. This isn’t.

You know what his high school calendar tells me, as someone with teenage boys? He’s been planning for greatness since he’s been a kid. Teenage boys almost never keep records like this. They don’t have the executive skills.

And notice how he simply writes “interview for Brown” on his calendar without a time? He isn’t reminding himself about going to the interview. He’s keeping record for future historians. And he saved his calendar.

And he put his exercise routine on his calendar. I’m only doing that in my 50s, and I used to be an athlete. He was a highly, highly, unusual regimented kid who completely exploded on weekends.

And now all those exploded weekends might undo all the careful planning during the rest of the week.

Now, he’ll either never have that history book about himself or he’ll get one with a very fat chapter with lots of horrible information.

And Ford herself seems to have been tortured by this high school experience, even considering moving to New Zealand to get away from hearing about BK.

Two people are about to humiliate themselves in public. This is so sad.

The Small World of Elites

While on the treadmill at the gym this morning, I watched Willie Geist joke about his common high school with his guest, a political science professor with a new book, on MSNBC. I know all about that high school, because that’s where Jonah went and where we live. And my editor at the major magazine that I know well. I tweeted about it and now we’re all friends, too.

It’s a small world of elites.

I’m not quite sure what the main point of Flanagan’s article was, but she has some nice details about the insider culture of elite schools in the 1980s. It was very, very similar to life at my upper class suburb in the 1980s.

Dan Drezner has a post about how elites are rather clueless about the fact that they are elites and, thus, have no qualms about punching down.

It’s a tribal world of elites, where we protect each other and close ranks. My hubby would point out that this is a cave-man instinct. It’s also something that pissed off people who aren’t in the club. We’ve got to open the doors.