Kavanaugh's tribalist defenders

This reunification of the right over Brett Kavanaugh is tribalism, pure and simple. But of course, since we’re talking about anti-Trump Republican holdouts, they’re portraying their decision as some great and noble cause, a brave stand on behalf of “every American who has found himself falsely accused, or railroaded by malicious hearsay, or facing an unfeeling bureaucracy that treats juvenile missteps as unforgivable sins.”

That would be germane if we were talking about a criminal proceeding. But we’re not. We’re talking about elevating Brett Kavanaugh to one of the nine most powerful positions in one of three coequal branches of the federal government, a position from which he would preside for decades to come. That makes the confirmation battle over Kavanaugh the most significant political dispute since, well, Trump wrested control of the party away from the very people who are belatedly embracing him as the “one big bully” that conservative moralists want and need on their side.

This is precisely the calculation that white evangelical Protestants made in the months leading up to the 2016 general election. Skepticism about the trash-talking, morally obscene real-estate mogul from Manhattan gave way to enthusiasm, as the religious right rapidly warmed to the idea of Trump repaying their votes with a promise to serve as a strongman protector of conservative Christians living in fear of the atheistic totalitarianism supposedly favored by the Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

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