Joe Manchin’s Argument for Voting for Brett Kavanaugh Makes No Sense

If you don’t believe it was Brett Kavanaugh who sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, then you don’t actually believe Christine Blasey Ford.

Joe Manchin

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom via ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Just seconds after Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins announced she would, in the end, support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court—effectively assuring he will prevail in the final vote on Saturday—the last Democrat still on the fence, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, finally hopped off it:

He’s a yes. Unless something changes, on Saturday, he’ll be the only Democrat—joining all but one Republican—voting for Kavanaugh.

In explaining his decision to reporters not long after, Manchin offered a familiar refrain, echoing colleagues such as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)—he believes Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault, but he doesn’t believe she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh:

Perhaps Manchin really does believe this, but the second part of the comment renders the first part irrelevant. In Ford’s letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), her interview with Senate Judiciary Committee staffers, and her emotional public testimony, she was unwavering on this one point: She is “100 percent” confident it was Kavanaugh who assaulted her. She remembers his face, and she remembers, most of all, his laughter. If you don’t believe it was Brett Kavanaugh who sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, then you don’t actually believe Christine Blasey Ford.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend