Democrats have played right into GOP bullies’ hands

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court represents a hard lesson in schoolyard politics (“Conservatives’ dream of control has become reality,” Page A1, Oct. 7). For Democrats, perhaps foremost among the lessons learned from the confirmation spectacle should be the following:

First, don’t make it easier for the schoolyard bullies to win the fights they pick. During the 2017 nomination of Neil Gorsuch, Democrats forced the Republican senatorial bullies into a corner, practically daring them to use the so-called nuclear option. Had Democrats not employed those tactics, 60 votes, rather than 50, would still, in effect, have been needed to confirm Kavanaugh.

Second, don’t give schoolyard bullies fodder they can use to recruit more members. Yes, Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation of sexual assault was absolutely credible and deserving of an FBI investigation. But the way the allegation unfolded — through a suspicious last-minute leak — served to inflame Republican sentiment. As a result, Democrats have squandered the apparent lead they held heading into the midterm election.

William Oppenheimer