My take is that had the Democrats played this differently, there would have been a different nominee months ago.
Your “playbook” is not backed up by history. Ginsburg was withdrawn the moment the marijuana allegation surfaced. The GOP tends to stiffen its spine, however, when it sees that the Democrats are running a play out of THEIR playbook, and one where the GOP base wants them to compete.
Had DiFi played this ethically (meaning, brought the letter to the attention of the committee when it was received, keeping Dr. Ford’s name in confidence) I believe the GOP would have (confidentially) found a reason why Kavanaugh could withdraw whilst saving face.
However, the way the play unfolded (leaking the letter after the hearings, obviously hoping Kav would withdraw with insufficient time before the elections to send up another nominee) the GOP was given no choice but to double down — — not confirming a justice on their watch would have been political malpractice of the highest order, one that their base would remember for a long time) and stick with Kavanaugh. Put another way, the way this was played turned this into a game of raw political power, where Ford and Kavanaugh were simply pawns.
So, ironically, the chances that Kavanaugh is confirmed, and not another justice in his place, were increased when the Dems decided to release the letter so late in the process.
Which is a shame, because I would prefer, at this point, to see another nominee.
(Which, btw, it is still within the power of the Dems to pull off. If the Dems were to go to the GOP at this point and say “OK, here’s the deal — — you agree to pull Kavanaugh, and we’ll agree to confirm Barrett or Kethledge before the election” — the GOP would probably pull him back.)
And if they cared about doing what is right, and not about just politics, that’s likely what they’d do. But this is about politics, now.
And here’s what’s worse. After what happened to Dr. Ford, the chances are that in the future, if another nominee or political candidate has a history of sexual assault in his teen years, the chances that the woman comes forward are close to nil. This thing has set metoo back a decade.