Women Are Watching

Editorial Board at The New York Times:

“Look at me when I’m talking to you! You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter. That what happened to me doesn’t matter!” Those anguished words came from Maria Gallagher, who, along with Ana Maria Archila, confronted Senator Jeff Flake after he announced on Friday morning that he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as Mr. Flake stood in a Capitol Hill elevator that he clearly wished could transport him far, far away.

…Whatever happens next, Republican lawmakers ought to tread carefully. They thus far have not covered themselves in glory in their handling of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. This brief pause provides them with an opportunity to start repairing some of that damage, to try to come across as — and maybe even to actually be — more interested in the truth than in shoving through their nominee regardless of it. As they try to figure out how best to move forward, they would do well to keep something in mind: Women are watching. Many women have been eyeing the Republican Party with growing unease since it was taken over by Donald Trump, whose retrograde views on gender are straight out of the 1950s — or maybe the 1590s. Confronted with serious and credible allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, Republican lawmakers could have seized the moment to reassure anxious women that they realized some issues transcend partisanship. Instead, they failed, quite spectacularly, to rise to the occasion — turning their furious defense of the nominee into an illuminating microcosm of the disregard and disrespect for women that have become hallmarks of Mr. Trump’s Republican Party. As the Kavanaugh nightmare took form, women watched in dismay as Republican lawmakers worked to discredit Dr. Blasey by suggesting that she was either hopelessly confused, a political pawn or a liar. They watched in disbelief as Republicans repeatedly declined to call for an independent investigation into Dr. Blasey’s allegations, much less the subsequent ones brought by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. They watched in frustration as Republicans failed to call material witnesses or outside experts to testify.

…Women have not simply been watching. They’ve been preparing their response. That response may come in 2018 or in 2020. But it will come. And, without a course correction far more dramatic than the frantic shuffling spurred by Mr. Flake’s 11th-hour pang of conscience, the damage Republican lawmakers are doing to their party could last for decades.

More here.