Flake’s reversal shows that protest can be effective

This morning, Sen. Jeff Flake, a pivotal vote, was a Yes on Kavanaugh. Then came the elevator, when women who had been sexually assaulted confronted Flake about supporting an accused sexual predator for Supreme Court.

A little later, Flake left a meeting to talk with his friend Democratic Senator Chris Coons. Then Flake called for a delay in the nomination vote until the FBI investigates.

This happened because hundreds of thousands of phone calls to senators were made, and because protesters filled the Senate and would not allow business as usual. 

Protest works. Funny thing about it too. The more you get involved in making a stand for what you believe, the more optimistic you become. Then you become even more effective. 

By the end of the day, Flake had, adding a condition to his promise to vote for Kavanaugh. He’d do so, Flake said, if the vote was delayed a week so the FBI could investigate “credible allegations” against the nominee.

It wasn’t clear that the raw, emotional elevator exchange changed Flake’s his mind by itself. But it’s hard to forget. And Flake didn’t deny it was one of the factors that made an impression.

Sen. Coons said:

“Senator Flake and I share a deep concern for the health of this institution and what it means to the rest of the world and to our country if we are unable to conduct ourselves respectfully and in a way that hears each other,” he said. “I frankly think that what Senator Flake is trying to do is to both achieve a brief, credible investigation of allegations in front of us and serve as a role model as he has for me today of someone who is willing to take a real political risk and upset many in his party by asking for a pause so that the American people can hear that we are able to work together on some things.”