At first it was mainly delusional liberals who were leading the charge against Kavanaugh, wielding their same ol' ineffective weapons from the arsenal of identity politics. But now that a good number of class-oriented realigners on the Left are joining the pile-on, all while the accusations have become increasingly risible, it's time to look at how pointless and self-defeating these strategies always are -- not only for their short-term failures, but their sapping of energy that could have been devoted to long-term and big-picture changes.
First, how about a quick reality check on the last time that liberals tried to derail a conservative Supreme Court nominee using flimsy allegations of sexual harassment? They failed abysmally when they came for Clarence Thomas in 1991, who has been safely implementing the Reaganite agenda ever since. And because their attacks were personal rather than collective, they resulted in no broader understanding, and no further escalation of goals.
In their framing, only this one individual was the problem, not the entire Reaganite judicial army -- and his disqualifications were said to be of a character nature, rather than stemming from the powerful and wealthy interests whose agenda he would be implementing. So, once his appointment was fait accompli, that was the end of that campaign by the opposition.
The dominant coalition of a historical era rarely has major problems in re-shaping society, across all branches of government, at all levels of government. That's what makes them the dominant coalition. The opposition struggles to achieve even small-scale victories, let alone to defend them against the incessant reactions by the relatively stronger dominant coalition. So, it was a no-brainer that GOP-appointed Thomas would get seated on the Supreme Court in the Reaganite era.
But that doesn't mean the opposition had no chance for advancing their goals -- provided that their attacks were of a collective and political nature, so that even if they failed to derail this particular appointment, they would have built support for blocking similar appointments who would enact a similar agenda, making victories possible in the medium or long term.
While the outcome of the character assassination against Thomas may have been uncertain back in 1991, when they first deployed the strategy, by 2018 it is no longer hypothetical -- it will fail just as spectacularly against Kavanaugh. At least with Thomas, the allegation was that he used his institutional role to get away with harassment of a structural underling. With Kavanaugh, he had no institutional role giving him leverage over the accusers -- just a high schooler or college kid of similar social standing as them. There's no institutional or structural critique behind the allegations against him, and therefore nothing political to be made of them.
Indeed, the liberals and Leftists who are chasing the short-term endorphin rush of piling on have already admitted that they are not seeking a broader change in the make-up of the Supreme Court, the agenda it would enact, the structural changes in society it would pursue, or anything like that.
They're saying, "Look, you Republicans could shit-can Kavanaugh and replace him with any one of a million other Reaganite clones, and it won't make a lick of difference to the outcome of upcoming Supreme Court cases. So please, just give us this one particular scalp, let us orgasm, and then we'll fall into a deep refractory-period slumber, while you appoint Kavanaugh's clone in his place. Deal?"
These are the pleas of a defeated, and defeatist, opposition. When we lose yet again, please just give us a consolation prize rather than total humiliation, and we'll go back to impotently whining instead of collectively organizing against your agenda. This is politics as therapeutic medication of individuals, not politics as wielding coalitional power to shape society.
And that's assuming they even get their scalp! When they do not, they will suffer greater depression from the cognitive dissonance of getting totally humiliated by the dominant coalition, without the innocuous consolation prize that they had so non-threateningly requested.
And yet, the outlook for the realignment of the Democrats -- or whatever party replaces them -- is not hopeless. The reactions to the allegations against Kavanaugh have been far less indulgent among the up-and-coming Congressional realigners like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, or DSA fellow traveler Julia Salazar who is headed to the NY State Senate. Refreshingly, Tulsi Gabbard's Twitter account has not issued a single response piling on against Kavanaugh, which she must see as largely a distraction from her big-picture efforts against corporate oligarchy and globalist militarism.
Sure, they don't approve of him being appointed, and they may have a few token responses against him on Twitter, but they're not singling him out for a scalp while saying go ahead and put any other Reaganite in his place. And they're not droning on and on about the identity politics issue of sexual misconduct among drunken teenagers -- but universal healthcare, ending the Pentagon's failed occupation of the whole world, and other issues relating to class and empire.
I don't read too many Leftist commentators on Twitter, but Briahna Joy Gray and Rania Khalek have also been relatively bored by the Kavanaugh pile-on, and have continued their long-term big-picture focus on class-and-empire issues.
It's hard not to notice that they're women of color, while the Leftists who are hooking MSNBC's Kavanaugh coverage straight into their veins are more likely white and male. (Sex seems more important than race here.) Will Menaker from Chapo Trap House, John Iadarola from The Young Turks, and sadly the Bernmeister himself. It's not a perfect correlation, but the difference is still pretty striking.
We understand why liberals of both sexes and all races are piling on -- libs don't care about fundamental change, and just want a small concession to make them feel less pathetic in their defeat.
But the Left should be rising above that. The fact that guys on the Left are still so drawn into the pile-on suggests a personal rather than collective motive -- they see Kavanaugh as the womanizing jerk from Hollywood movies who has monopolized the means of reproduction, leaving them sexually frustrated. Or if it turns out he was a virgin during his youth, he's still the smug preppy frat boy type who they have to engage with for male-male status competition, and they'd rather not have to compete on "stereotypically masculine" dimensions that frat boys are into.
They've been good at ignoring the distractions of Mueller-gate, having learned their lessons from the pointlessness of the Valerie Plame Affair. But now there's a more personal appeal to joining the powerless Centrist hysteria du jour -- venting about those fucking frat boys!
Whatever it is, Leftist guys need to get over it and help out their women with the big-picture work of realignment, instead of retreating into their comfy man-caves where they feed their personal spite addiction all day long.
Fight SCOTUS pick on populist grounds, not abortion or other liberal identity politics issues, especially since the Reaganite Supreme Court has enshrined abortion, flag-burning, pornography, and gay marriage -- all things that the Founding Fathers had intended to flourish, and that were originally sanctified in the Constitution. The Reaganites are libertarian experimentalists, not conservative traditionalists, so fear-mongering about them using the state to regulate personal choices has always been crying wolf, and normies tune it out by now.
Kavanaugh ruled in favor of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in union-busting campaign by management. There was a way to tie the individual record of Kavanaugh into the broader Reaganite agenda, and Trump's personal benefits from Kavanaugh's rulings, in a way that would call the president's bluff on being a working-class friendly Republican realigner.