After Democrats successfully pressured Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers to leave office amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the GOP is facing growing pressure to apply the same scrutiny to its own members.
Political operatives and commentators argue that Democrats have seized the “moral high ground” on issues relating to sexual misconduct, and that spells trouble for the GOP.
After Democrats successfully pressured Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers, both powerful Democratic lawmakers, to leave office amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the GOP is facing growing pressure to apply the same scrutiny to its own members.
The calls for Franken to resign began shortly after a seventh female accuser came forward on Wednesday morning, alleging the former comedian attempted to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Female Democratic lawmakers led the charge calling on Franken to step down, releasing a barrage of statements and emphasizing the need for “zero tolerance” on sexual misconduct.
“Enough is enough,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a longtime advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.
Conyers, who alleged sexually harassed and assaulted former employees, bowed to pressure to retire on Tuesday.
As Democrats roll out their new zero-tolerance position on sexual misconduct, the party is positioning itself to attack the GOP’s record of protecting alleged sexual predators, chief among them embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, in their ranks.
Democrats seize the moral high ground
Political strategists and commentators say the Democrats’ relatively swift dismissal of Franken is a politically strategic and well-timed move, given the Tuesday special election in Alabama.
As the former Republican governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, said on Fox News on Tuesday, “As long as Al Franken is in the Senate, as long as you’ve got Conyers and others who are staying in office, then why not have Roy Moore?”
Democrats have stripped the GOP of its ability to point fingers at the Democrats in defending politicians like Moore, President Donald Trump, and Rep. Blake Fahrenthold, a Texas Republican who paid $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint brought by a female staffer. And the unified move took some Republicans by surprise.
“I really thought he was going to be able to survive,” Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist and president of the Potomac Strategy Group, told Business Insider.
John Stoehr, a progressive journalist, wrote in a Newsweek column on Wednesday that “amid this climate of sexual misconduct and accountability, the party is signaling to every woman out there that the Democrats are for them.”
“We got rid of our sexual predators, they are saying, while the Republicans sent theirs to the Senate,” he wrote.
Conservatives argue the move was at least partially motivated by politics.
“I hate to be crass, but it seems to me that the Democrats probably did some polling in the last 10 days and found that their reluctance to call out bad behavior on their own side of the aisle was going to hurt them in the midterms,” Mackowiak said.
Mackowiak said that the blowback House Minority Leader …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics