In Huntsville, Ala., mom Vickie Freeman had wept for joy as she watched Brett Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And now that he’s been confirmed as the country’s 114th Supreme Court justice, she has a name for herself and other Republican moms galvanized by the tense and partisan confirmation process.
“We are the ‘Mama Bears,’ absolutely,” Freeman told The Post. “And it has really fired us up to vote.”
The bruising Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings fueled feminist fury and Democrat disgust across the country — but the hearings also gave the GOP, and Republican mothers in particular, a sense of righteous anger that could turn midterm congressional races red.
Especially in heartland red states, Republicans who are mad about the way Kavanaugh was treated could make the difference for the GOP as it tries to keep control of the House and Senate.
“Nothing turns Republicans of all stripes — whether they’re Bush Republicans or Trump Republicans — on like a court fight,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News on Saturday.
The Democrats “played right into our hands, in retrospect,” he crowed. “Maybe I ought to say thank you.”
An NPR-Marist poll last week found that the Democrats’ “enthusiasm gap” has all but evaporated in the heat of the confirmation battle.
Republican enthusiasm has surged by 12 percentage points since July, the survey found, leaving the two parties statistically tied.
GOP turnout could hinge in large part on a contingent that could be called the “Mama Bears” — women who defend Kavanaugh and fear their sons could fall victim to unfounded allegations in the #MeToo age.
The allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh have riled women nationwide — but their anger, it turns out, goes both ways.
A poll taken after the nation heard Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Kavanaugh, followed by his impassioned denial, found 55 percent of women opposed his elevation to the Supreme Court, but 37 percent were in favor.
On Staten Island, the Kavanaugh hearings outraged Angie Moore.
“The minute a conservative gets accused, it’s like due process goes out the window,” she said.
In Missouri, where Democrat Claire McCaskill is running for re-election, 47 percent of female voters have told pollsters her opposition to Kavanaugh has turned them against her, while 42 percent approve of her “no” vote.
“We are watching someone be declared guilty without proof,” Kelly Melang of Beech Mountain, NC, told her two teen boys.
“We try our best to raise them to be respectful and honorable,” she added. “But we’ve had to sit them down and tell them, you have to watch your back.”
“I fear for my sons,” said Gayle Chasen of Staten Island. “I believe in women’s rights, but I also believe in the deviousness of girls. Anybody can come up with something from the past and just make up any kind of story.”
Some moms took to social media to declare they’d bought calendars for their sons to record their daily activities, just in case they have to one day defend themselves as Kavanaugh did.
“It’s so terrifying,” Freeman said of her 15-year-old son. “I’m not giving him a calendar. I’m just thinking about not letting him go anywhere.”
Freeman, who calls herself a Christian conservative, said the controversy has sharply boosted voter enthusiasm in her community before Election Day.
“We were not Trump supporters initially, but we voted for him because of the Supreme Court,” she said. “So we have to make sure our voices are heard.”
Chasen, a Democrat “still on the fence” about the coming elections, is livid about the tactics her party used in its effort to take Kavanaugh down.
“What an embarrassment,” she said, citing the sex scandals of Democrats such as Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer. “How dare they badger this guy?” she asked. “They’re all dirty.”
No matter how the Kavanaugh confirmation may affect the midterms one month away, its shock waves could continue rumbling for years.
Susan Collins (R-Maine), who cast a “yes” vote that helped save Kavanaugh — and the Trump administration — from a humiliating defeat on the Senate floor, may have already drawn a high-profile challenger for her seat when she runs for re-election in 2020.
Susan Rice, former national security adviser to President Barack Obama and US ambassador to the United Nations, toyed with throwing her hat in the ring in a pair of Friday tweets.
“Who wants to run for Senate in Maine?” tweeted Jen Psaki, Obama’s former communications director, shortly after Collins wrapped up her 40-minute speech explaining her “yes” vote for Kavanaugh. “There will be an army of supporters with you.”
“Me,” Rice responded 11 minutes later.
But shortly after, Rice backtracked on her declaration.
“Many thanks for the encouragement,” she tweeted. “I’m not making any announcements. Like so many Americans, I am deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh.”
Rice would enter the fray as a novice candidate, but one with impressive name recognition.
She’d have a substantial war chest, too.
In August, political activists launched a crowd-funding effort to put pressure on Collins. As one of the Senate’s most moderate Republicans, she was long been seen as a swing vote on his nomination. By Saturday afternoon, the fund had collected more than $3.2 million in pledges.
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