Republicans on defense in South Carolina
Want to know which party is playing defense a week before the election? Take a look at where the independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee is going on the air at the last moment in its bid to protect the G.O.P.’s 23-seat House majority: South Carolina’s First District.
That would be the Charleston-area seat that is currently represented by Representative Mark Sanford and that has long been a bulwark of conservative strength. But Republicans are nervous that Katie Arrington, who defeated Mr. Sanford in the Republican primary after President Trump torpedoed him in the final hours, is proving to be a lackluster candidate. They don’t want to take any chances against a Democrat, Joe Cunningham, who has out-raised her.
This district was not, to put it mildly, on anybody’s list of battleground races. But it includes a substantial number of urban and suburban voters, the slice of the electorate that is proving problematic this year for Republicans.
Holder stands firm with heckler
After a week that included a wave of mail bombs sent to top Democrats, allegedly by a vocal Trump supporter, and a wrenching massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Republicans remain undeterred in framing the midterms as a referendum on a Democratic “mob” opposing the president.
Some voters seem ready to amplify the message. At a campaign event on Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor, a man with a bullhorn interrupted the proceedings repeatedly as Eric Holder, the former attorney general under Barack Obama, stepped to the microphone to talk up Mr. Gillum.
The heckler, who identified himself online as a contributor to the conspiracy-mongering website Infowars, recited Mr. Holder’s recent take on a famed Michelle Obama axiom: “When they go low,” Mr. Holder told a crowd earlier this month, “we kick them.”
Calling back to the man from the stage, Mr. Holder suggested that his Republican critics were acting in bad faith. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said. “Why don’t you cut out the fake outrage, my man?”
Democrats have occasionally struggled to calibrate their responses lately amid calls for “civility” in politics, attempting to portray Mr. Trump as uniquely toxic to the discourse while at the same time avoiding the perception that they are themselves escalating a partisan conflict.
But Mr. Holder, who is weighing a run for president in 2020, appears to have demonstrated the emerging party template for such encounters: Don’t make an apology for its own sake, and don’t give an inch.