The addition of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is the latest “win.” The successful nomination — however tortuous, however unpopular, however saturated in drama — achieved several things at once. First, it justified the evangelical and pro-business right’s Faustian bargain with Trump. Along with Gorsuch, Kavanaugh cemented a 5-4 majority for the right on the court for the indefinite future — more quickly and decisively than any Republican had hoped for. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, in stark contrast, we’d be looking at a 6-3 liberal tilt by now. That’s a huge, huge payoff for what looked at one point like a major gamble for establishment and religious Republicans — and there could be more vacancies ahead.
Second, it showed that the broader Republican coalition isn’t completely dead. The over-the-top tactics of the Democrats and the mainstream media in turning a Supreme Court hearing into an epic battle in a newly energized gender war may have riveted Democratic women and galvanized a younger generation … but it also brought moderate Republicans and Trumpers together again. When confronted with the rhetoric and ideology of the social justice left, NeverTrump conservatives came temporarily back to the fold. I felt it happening to myself.
Worse, there was evidence that some of the culture war issues the Democrats are relying on may not be so win-win.