Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are edgy about the agreement for Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The big picture: The arrangement isn't really a gamble because Republicans have no choice. They have to let Ford testify if they're going to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as top GOP sources still (nervously) predict.

  • And in a possible setback for Ford, the N.Y. Times reports, a woman and two men who were said to have attended the party now say they have no recollection of it, seeming to "eliminate any chance of corroboration ... by anyone who attended."

But the risks are blatantly obvious in an election year where women — and especially college-educated women — already loathe Trump and appear motivated to vote out Republicans.

  • Why it matters: Republicans involved in the process worry that the accuser, a college professor, will connect with the voters already most animated against them.
  • And while Republicans involved in Kavanaugh’s confirmation tell Axios that the elderly male Republican senators are approaching this gingerly, there’s nervousness in the sources' voices because there’s so much room for error.

Be smart: A former administration official said Republicans are "walking the tightrope of making sure not to piss off women for the midterms yet not alienating the base by ditching Kavanaugh."

  • And one top Republican texted: "Most Republicans know the party has already lost college women, alienated by Trump’s style and behavior. Cannot lose them twice."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.