Brett Kavanugh is on the Supreme Court and the biggest reason is Donald Trump. When he won the nomination in 2016, it wasn’t unreasonable to think that Trump wouldn’t win the general election, he wouldn’t be true to his promise on judges even if he won, and even if he nominated the right people, he wouldn’t care enough about the Court to see through a difficult, high-stakes confirmation fight. We can now say of these presumptions, wrong, wrong, and wrong.
The Kavanugh confirmation was clarifying in another way. Brett Kavanugh is not a loudmouth. He never insulted anyone or said a bad word in public. He’s upstanding. He never paid off a porn star or resorted to dubious tax schemes. He’s not a populist or a nationalist. He’s a respectable member of the Republican establishment who no reasonable person could find threatening or outrageous. Yet they tried, not just to defeat him, but to destroy him.
By “they,” I mean the liberal media, the Democratic Party, the legal academy and, Hollywood. All that stood in the way of this effort were Republican officeholders, conservative voters and media—and Donald Trump.
This tells us something important about how Trump-skeptical conservatives should regard him. The president has many flaws. We can argue about how much weight to put on them and it remains to be seen how they will ultimately ramify. But the last two weeks make clear that despite them, Trump is a friend. It also makes abundantly clear, if it wasn’t already completely obvious, who is out to destroy conservatism and conservatives, even those who don’t have a whiff of Trump about them.