I'm seeing a lot of blame going around so I want to provide some clarity on what I believe Dems did wrong. First and foremost, they failed to realize that the GOP would use their majority to seat Kavanaugh AT ALL COSTS.
Understanding that the GOP would not settle for anything less than Justice Kavanaugh, Democrats should have walked out of what they called a "charade" and a "sham." When you call something a sham and then participate in it, you're legitimizing it.
Democrats had ample reason to refuse to participate: Kavanaugh was nominated by a president who may have committed federal crimes. His records were being withheld. And so on. Simply applying the #MerrickGarland standard, Kavanaugh didn't merit a hearing.
For anyone whose response is "well if Dems walked out, Republicans would have immediately confirmed him," HE WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE CONFIRMED. The real strategic question was not how to change GOP minds, but how to delegitimize Kavanaugh altogether.
Now let's talk about the sexual assault allegations. Feinstein knew about them BEFORE the hearings began. Without violating #DrFord's confidentiality, Democrats could have simply said, "We are aware of allegations that disqualify Kavanaugh." Period.
If the GOP called foul, Dems could have stuck to the #MerrickGarland standard, refusing to participate in hearings until the investigation of Trump was concluded. They could have called for a confidential FBI investigation of Ford's accusation in July.
Democrats should never have played along with the sham hearings, but once they did, they made a crucial strategic error focusing on calling for an FBI investigation of sexual assault accusations. #JeffFlake saw the easy opening and walked right through it.
Instead, Dems should have zeroed in on #Kavanaugh's lies under oath, which even Trump and Republicans conceded were deal-breakers. The Dem line should have been: "We believe the women, but even if you don't, his lies disqualify him." FOCUS ON THE LYING.
Dems had it within their power to focus attention on Kavanaugh's lies and to lay down the gauntlet: Will the GOP confirm a perjurer to the highest court? That would have done more of a service to survivors by sparing them the GOP's hideous attacks.