Felled by a tweet

In the adjacent post Paul cautiously evaluates President Trump’s possible role in toppling Republican incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford in yesterday’s Republican primary. Yesterday afternoon Trump took time out to put the hex on Sanford and endorse Katie Harrington in the tweet below. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Arrington prevailed with 50.5 percent of the vote; Sanford took 46.6 percent. The margin between them was 2,500 votes.

Stephen Douglas was said to have had his presidential ambitions laid low by a question Lincoln posed to him during their 1858 debate in Freeport (“Can the people of a United States Territory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a State Constitution?”). See Harry Jaffa’s brilliant essay “The speech that changed the world.”

It’s probably a little more complicated than this, but Sanford might have been felled by a Trump tweet. In his characteristic style, President Trump pointedly reminded voters of Sanford’s past disgrace as South Caroline voters went to the polls yesterday afternoon: “He is better off in Argentina.” The Trump factor was in any event decisive, as Alex Isenstadt makes plain in “Sanford’s fatal sin: Crossing Donald Trump.”

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