The Kavanaugh confirmation left lingering scars, including that GOP men became far less likely to believe women who allege sexual harassment or assault.
When Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, it was proof GOP members of the Senate had no problem backing a credibly accused sexual predator.
Now, a new study shows GOP men — not just senators — came away from that hearing not only believing Kavanaugh but distrusting women entirely.
The study, from research firm PerryUndem, was conducted in December 2018, a few months after Kavanaugh's confirmation. Though Republicans, including Trump himself, crowed about the "Kavanaugh effect" and said that the GOP held the Senate because people were mad about how Kavanaugh was treated, the opposite is true. The electorate as a whole doesn't like Kavanaugh at all, and they don't think the GOP did the right thing.
Well over half of voters now think Kavanaugh lied under oath about what happened during his teenage years. Nearly 50% view him unfavorably, and only one-third of voters believe the GOP was right to confirm him. A substantially larger number of voters believe the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford over that of Kavanaugh.
The hearing also laid bare the fact that Ford's treatment at the hands of the Senate could happen to anyone. Today, the study found, 40% of voters think that fewer women will now come forward if sexually harassed or assaulted, 41% think people will not believe women, and 39% feel more men will now think they can get away with harassing or assaulting women.
Regrettably, those conclusions don't appear to be wrong, at least where Republican men are concerned. The Kavanaugh hearing seems to have led to "Republican men revert[ing] backward in their views toward women." In other words, they don't believe women.
Back in 2017, only 44% of Republican men thought that "most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist." Post-Kavanaugh, that number jumped to 68%. Before the Kavanaugh battle, 80% of Republican men said they'd believe women alleging sexual assault or harassment. But after Kavanaugh, that number plummeted to 59%.
One upside? The results of the study don't bode well for the GOP in the 2020 election. A majority of suburban women, a group already trending away from Trump even though they backed him in 2016, said the Kavanaugh confirmation battle "made them think about men having more power in government than women" and 70% felt "the country would be better off with more women in political office."
And where Republican men and women once had roughly similar views about gender equality, they don't any longer. Now, GOP women are much more likely to believe women who allege sexual harassment, much less likely to view Kavanaugh favorably, and don't believe Kavanaugh will be impartial when Democratic issues come before the Supreme Court.
When it comes to Kavanaugh, it looks like the GOP may have won the confirmation battle, but they may have set themselves up to lose the 2020 war.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.