The Morning Jolt

Law & the Courts

Another Case of Political Violence: Bomb Discovered at George Soros’s Home

Making the click-through worthwhile: a serious scare at George Soros’s house; a rollercoaster of new polls for Republicans, with good news in Indiana, mixed news in the House, and some ominous news in Florida; and a trio of Democrats had a really lousy Monday.

Who Planted a Bomb at George Soros’s House?

There is one effective solution to political violence: Treat it like violence — that is, investigate, identify, arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate.

We should do this when the target is someone on the Left . . .

An explosive device was found on Monday in a mailbox at a home of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who is a favorite target of right-wing groups, in a suburb north of New York City, the authorities said.

A law enforcement official confirmed that the device was found near Mr. Soros’s home. It did not explode on its own, and bomb squad technicians “proactively detonated” it, the official said.

Federal and state law enforcement officials responded to the scene in Katonah, N.Y., a hamlet in the upscale town of Bedford in northern Westchester County, after the Bedford Police Department received a call about a suspicious package at about 3:45 p.m.

“An employee of the residence opened the package, revealing what appeared to be an explosive device,” the police said in a statement. “The employee placed the package in a wooded area and called the Bedford police.”

And we should do this when the target is someone on the right.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office in California was vandalized and equipment was stolen Monday evening, the Republican congressman said.

In a post on his Instagram account, McCarthy published pictures of the two men he claims “threw a boulder“” through the window of his Bakersfield office and a picture of the resulting damage.

“Does anyone know these two guys? They threw a boulder thru our office window and took office equipment,” McCarthy wrote Monday.

You’ll recall that I have a longstanding position that politically motivated violence should be blamed on the perpetrators, and more or less only the perpetrators. No one’s rant about George Soros being a sinister force behind leftist politics made somebody place a bomb in his mailbox; somebody made the conscious decision to build that device, place it in that particular place, and commit that crime.

Brace Yourself for a Polling Rollercoaster, Keep Your Hands and Legs Inside the Vehicle

Ready for a polling rollercoaster for the GOP?

Going up high! For the first time in what seems like forever, Mike Braun has a lead in a poll over incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly! I had been hearing a little bit of grumbling, that Braun had been gift-wrapped a perfect set of circumstances: going up against a Democrat who won with 50 percent in a presidential year; running in a midterm in Indiana, a state Donald Trump won by 19 points, and then the incumbent voted against Brett Kavanaugh about a month before Election Day. In the other Senate race that’s comparable to this one, in North Dakota, Kevin Cramer is beating Heidi Heitkamp by 16 points.

But wait, SurveyUSA had Donnelly ahead by a point yesterday!

The latest Washington Post poll has the vote even in the swing districts that Republicans need to hold!

The latest survey shows only a marginal change in the race during October, with 50 percent currently supporting the Democratic candidate in their district and 47 percent backing the Republican. Candidates from the two parties collectively are running almost even in 48 contested congressional districts won by President Trump in 2016, while Democrats hold the advantage in 21 competitive districts won by Hillary Clinton. The Democrats’ lead in those Clinton districts has narrowed a bit since the beginning of the month.

The overwhelming majority of the districts surveyed — 63 of the 69 — are currently represented by a Republican in the House.

But hold on, if they split those 48 congressional districts evenly, Democrats would win 24 — which is exactly what they need for 218-seat majority. If they fall short anywhere, they end up falling just short of a majority, barring some huge upset in some race currently considered safe for Republicans. And this calculation doesn’t include those six House seats held by Democrats. For what it’s worth, Republicans feel pretty good about their odds in Minnesota’s first district, Minnesota’s eighth district, and maybe Nevada’s third district. So Democrats probably want to win 27 or 28 out of those most competitive 48 to ensure that they win the majority.

As Alexandra DeSanctis observes, three polls of Florida’s statewide races came out, and two of them are bad for Republicans, and one of them is good. It would seem odd for Scott to slide in the polls as he’s spending his days primarily focused on directing the state’s response to Hurricane Michael; these are usually the sorts of moments where governors look their best. I also wonder if turnout in Florida’s panhandle will be affected by the aftermath of the hurricane.

“Rick Scott has twice won elections for governor by a single percentage point, and in 2014 the 64,000-vote margin he had over Democrat Charlie Crist, half of it was accumulated in the counties now reeling from Michael,” said John Kennedy, a veteran Florida political reporter who runs the Tallahassee bureau for GateHouse Media, which owns a group of state newspapers.

“These eight counties that were devastated by Michael, they’re home to 220,000 voters, and with the exception of really Democratic-heavy Gadsden County, these counties are overwhelmingly Republican-leaning,” Kennedy said on “Inside Florida Politics,” a GateHouse podcast.

Some right-leaning readers in Florida are absolutely convinced that Senate candidate Rick Scott and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis will be just fine.

Three Democrats Who Had a Bad Monday

Lawyer, potential presidential candidate, and walking caricature Michael Avenatti:

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, was hit with a personal judgment of $4.85 million Monday for his failure to pay a debt to a former colleague at his longtime Newport Beach firm.

Less than an hour after his defeat in the Los Angeles lawsuit, Avenatti suffered another setback at a trial in Orange County: The Irvine Co. won a court order evicting him and his staff from their offices because the firm, Eagan Avenatti, skipped the last four months of rent.

Democratic congressional candidate Scott Wallace:

As the political climate continues to heat up, challenger Scott Wallace lost his cool during a debate with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. Sunday night at the Congregation Tifereth Israel in Bensalem, Wallace used an expletive and “dropped an f-bomb” in front of those attending.

“Ironically, there was a later question about the need for civility in politics,” Fitzpatrick told WBCB. “Well, a good start is to not use vulgarities in the sanctuary of a synagogue in the middle of a congressional debate.”

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams:

The Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, Stacey Abrams, helped light a state flag on fire on the steps of the state’s Capitol in June 1992, as part of a protest that her campaign on Monday night characterized as an effort to “overcome racially divisive issues.”

The flag at the time incorporated designs from the Confederate battle flag, and Abrams, then a freshman at  Atlanta’s Spelman College, was one of about a dozen demonstrators involved, according to contemporaneous newspaper accounts and several social media posts that surfaced the issue late Monday.

ADDENDUM: Do the early voting numbers look good for Republicans everywhere except Nevada? Yes. But it’s still really early, and the proportion of early votes that have been turned in so far will constitute a small fraction of the overall vote. So, don’t take anything for granted!

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