When the curtain rose on the internet on Thursday morning the stage was filled with stories about how Republican voter enthusiasm had spiked in outrage over the treatment of supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The ‘Brett bounce’ Axios christened it – anticipating a potential windfall point or two for Republicans in November’s midterm elections.
Slate noticed that Republican women in particular seemed to be invigorated by Kavanaugh’s tribulations at the hands of Senate Democrats.
McClatchy spoke with three Republican pollsters: all reported soaring enthusiasm among GOP respondents after months of apathy and malaise.
For progressives the news set off every alarm.
Anger that Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault had been reduced to the horse-race question.
Distress that anyone could react to her testimony – and to the manifest petulance of Kavanaugh’s response – that way. Anxiety that the midterms could be squandered.
Panic about a classic Democratic own-goal.
Anger again at the effort to silence and punish Ford.
A week earlier Kavanaugh had been dragged – metaphorically kicking and literally screaming – through hours of questions about the Ford allegations and other alleged conduct.
In the immediate aftermath – most – including Donald Trump – declared Ford to be credible.
But Kavanaugh called it ‘a calculated and orchestrated political hit’ fueled by a desire for ‘revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside leftwing opposition groups’.
It was the same language of grievance and victimhood – at the hands of China or immigrants or trade agreements or Barack Obama or the rigged system or indeed the Clintons – that Trump used so fluently to harness a wave of political support in 2016.
And apparently core Republican voters still responded to it.