Did Brett Kavanaugh’s performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee remind you of anyone? The alpha-male bullying? The successful efforts to intimidate? The outright lies?

This was not just the Clarence Thomas playbook. It was the Trump playbook.

And, like Trump’s performances in the 2016 debates with other Republican candidates, it worked all too well. Most of Kavanaugh’s Democratic interrogators were cowed into inept submissiveness, while Kavanaugh’s performance reinforced Republican tribalism.

Autocratic swagger—Trump, McConnell, Kavanaugh—is now the governing style in all three branches of government. If Kavanaugh is indeed confirmed, the only consolation is that the Democratic wave in November will be swollen by millions of appalled women voters.

Even so, one has to fear for the republic. America has not been so divided since the eve of the Civil War. That war settled the issue of slavery—though not racism—and it cost 620,000 lives.

Civil war is not an option today. The Republicans understand only toughness and power. A clean Democratic win in November would give them a taste of countervailing power. That and a peak mobilization of women could be Kavanaugh’s one positive legacy.