The logic of a premise will drag you to its conclusion. When Senate Republicans accepted the premise that Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh was a legitimate personal complaint rather than a political maneuver orchestrated by the Democratic Party, they placed themselves in the grips of a logic leading them through bargaining about how to accommodate her as he was dogged by a nationwide campaign of personal and political vilification.

The logic’s next step is likely to come Thursday, when Ford does not show at the Judiciary Committee hearing amidst renewed Democratic and media accusations of a litany of sins by now all too familiar.

Republicans will be left with the same option they had when the Democrats first brought up their last-minute landmine—to press ahead with confirmation. But by accepting a premise they knew was false, they energized the Democrats’ constituencies and dispirited their own.

They embarrassed themselves by volunteering to be played for suckers, as well as looking callous toward victims of sexual assault. Brilliant.