It looks increasingly likely that the severely hamstrung FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh has done the trick. With moderate Republicans signaling that they believe the FBI investigation was "thorough", Kavanaugh is likely to survive the vote in the Senate that will be divided strictly by party lines.
In the short term, this is very, very bad news. Kavanaugh's confirmation threatens women's reproductive rights, the Mueller probe, workers rights just to name a few. In the long term however, the effects of Kavanaugh's presence on the Supreme Court will be far more mixed for the Republicans. While they will control the highest court of the land, they could lose every other branch of government for decades to come, and become a permanent minority party.
Donald Trump has divided the country into warring factions, pitting his supporters against everyone else. While the majority of Republicans support the president, the party has a very serious demographic problem that they are powerless to fight. Young people are turning away from the party in droves, and as the country turns browner and more ethnically diverse, Trump's brand of rabid conservatism and thinly veiled white nationalism will have a very hard time finding an audience.
More worrying for the GOP however, are women voters who have the power to sink the party to the point of no redemption. Trump's election sparked a huge feminist uprising that is gaining more and more power as his presidency continues. And should Kavanaugh, a pro-life conservative, go through to the Supreme Court, it is going to make the GOP's problems much, much worse. Republicans are privately extremely worried about how Kavanaugh's nomination will effect the midterms in November. Given their prospects were already bleak, the party have few cards left to play to keep control of both houses in Congress.
Republicans have been buoyed in recent days by some polling data that suggests the Kavanaugh debacle is motivating their base, but there are a couple of problems with this theory. The first is that the bounce may not actually mean anything in the real world. As Nate Silver points out, "There is truth in the idea that Republicans have had a decent week of polling, but it can also be exaggerated by cherry-picking data that’s consistent with a particular narrative." Secondly, the Kavanaugh boost only holds if Kavanaugh doesn't go through to the Supreme Court. Should his nomination be confirmed by the GOP Senate, the uprising against him and the party will be severe.
The Democrats should still do everything in their power to stop the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. He is unqualified, a proven liar, deeply partisan, and quite probably guilty of attempting to rape Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. He was nominated by an illegitimate president, and fast tracked by a corrupt party that continues to flout democratic norms.
But should Kavanaugh go through, the Democrats must not lose hope. It is a situation that can be turned to their advantage if played correctly, and the Democrats must be ruthless in taking every opportunity they have. There is no shame in manipulating events to serve a purpose when dealing with Trump and the GOP. Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court can be used to take back both the House and the Senate, and Democrats must not be afraid to exploit it.