So who won?
Right now, it is impossible to say. As a liberal, and a Trump opponent, I think Ford did. I think she presented her case extraordinarily well, and controlled the narrative from beginning to end.
But, come, let us confess. Others will see the affair quite differently. Many, and not just men, and not just conservatives, will see Kavanaugh as the victor — or, at least, as the martyr, a white male whose sins were mostly being white and being male, and therefore guilty until proven otherwise. And, of course, in a polarized age, no proof of innocence is possible. Passion trumps (no pun intended) evidence…even if we know, precisely, what the evidence is.
So, I very much fear that we will not really know who “won,” if anyone did, for quite some time to come. It may, in fact, be the task of historians to determine that, not us, and not until we are safely in what I hope will be our comfortable graves.
However, of one thing I am certain. What happened to day changed the face of American politics. For good, or for ill, things are different, now. The American people have seen a Congress in which one party…the GOP… seems indifferent to facts, and indifferent to the popular will. Whether Ford is telling the truth, or Kavanaugh is a man unjustly accused, does not matter. The Republicans have made their choice. They will confirm Kavanaugh, if they possibly can, regardless of what women (and decent men) say about him, or what they believe about him.
And in the long run, that indifference will hurt the Republican Party beyond measure.
Beyond even, perhaps, its capacity to survive.