Kevin Cramer, Republican Senate candidate from North Dakota, fully understands what it means to be a Republican in the Trump era:
Asked for an example of what he meant, he ripped into the #MeToo movement.
“That you’re just supposed to believe somebody because they said it happened,” Mr. Cramer said, alluding to Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused Justice Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers — and, more broadly, women who have come forward to claim that they were sexually abused or assaulted.
Invoking his wife, daughters, mother and mother-in-law, Mr. Cramer said: “They cannot understand this movement toward victimization. They are pioneers of the prairie. These are tough people whose grandparents were tough and great-grandparents were tough.”
Suggesting that the #MeToo movement had created a backlash as the left tried to torpedo Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination, Mr. Cramer added, “The world got to see close up how ugly it can be when you go too far.”
Yeah, it’s pretty terrifying that someone could be credibly accused of sexual assault and then get confirmed to the Supreme Court anyway, things have really GONE TOO FAR and…wait, what?
His opponent is actually a decent human being:
But by Ms. Heitkamp’s lights, it was Mr. Cramer who went too far.
In an interview at a Scandinavian festival in Rutland, N.D., she reacted angrily to his dismissive assessment of women who say they have been sexually assaulted.
“The better part of my career in public life has been working with victims,” said Ms. Heitkamp, a former state attorney general. “Did you ask him how many victims during this process he actually sat down with, and survivors he sat down with, and visited with personally?”
Then Ms. Heitkamp’s voice grew thick with emotion.
“I think it’s wonderful that his wife has never had an experience, and good for her, and it’s wonderful his mom hasn’t,” she said. “My mom did. And I think it affected my mom her whole life. And it didn’t make her less strong.”
With tears welling in her eyes, Ms. Heitkamp stared intently at a reporter and continued: “And I want you to put this in there, it did not make my mom less strong that she was a victim. She got stronger and she made us strong. And to suggest that this movement doesn’t make women strong and stronger is really unfortunate.”
Ms. Heitkamp’s mother, Doreen, died in April at 88 on what would have been her 66th wedding anniversary. The senator said her mother was sexually assaulted as a teenager.
The raw back-and-forth was a searing illustration of the deeply personal nature of the #MeToo movement and its collision with Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination and the midterm elections.
That Cramer is more likely to win than not says a great deal about this political moment.