If Kavanaugh’s nomination is defeated by a combination of 49 Democrats and one or two Republicans, the process to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy would continue through the elections, creating an issue that could well boost Republican enthusiasm, as it did in 2016, when the vacancy over the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, and Senate Republicans’ gamble in not considering President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, hung over the election.

Democrats have had an advantage in enthusiasm over the past year, but a high court fight could offset that advantage, producing larger Republican Senate gains in November and possibly minimizing Democratic gains in the House.

Ironically, those Senate gains would make it easier to confirm a very conservative Trump nominee after the midterms.

Obviously, dramatic news about Kavanaugh’s record or values that proves disqualifying would change the nature of the confirmation process.