In one of the most disappointing polls of the year, researchers found that a majority of Republicans want Kavanaugh confirmed regardless of whether or not he’s guilty of the allegations made against him. The poll, conducted by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, showed that 54 percent supported the confirmation no matter what, while only 32 percent said his nomination should be halted if found guilty, per Salon.
Overall, the poll showed 43 percent of participants oppose Kavanaugh, with 38 percent supporting and 12 undecided.
Tuesday evening, Trump spurred Kavanaugh’s supporters when he lambasted Dr. Blasey Ford during one of his facetious rallies. With that in mind, the poll numbers have a grim logic. The leader of the free world openly accuses Ford of being a liar; his cronies follow. These actions are directly correlated to one another.
Trump knows that he can garner support based on calls like this, and doing so facilitates the culture that allows assault to happen. He’s sweeping a criminal act under the rug because he doesn’t want to admit that he, too, is guilty. His supporters don’t want to see sexual assault as wrong because they don’t want to be guilty, or to confront the consequences of their actions.
What’s more, Republicans have greatly clouded what it means to believe survivors. During the hearing, when Ford was accused of misidentifying her attacker, Republicans and Kavanaugh said they believed she was assaulted, but did not believe that Kavanaugh attacked her. They only want to believe allegations when it benefits their cause. That strategy perpetuates the idea that victims somehow are incapable of operating at full mental capacity. It’s patronizing.
Trump himself utilized the strategy during the first half of the hearing when he said she was a credible, compelling witness (before saying she’s a very fine looking woman). Republicans are making it clear that their major concern isn’t victims, justice or even their own supporters. It’s keeping their noses clean.