Jackie Calmes: No matter what happens in the midterms, Republicans won’t correct their troubling trajectory, at least not in the Senate
This article contains details about the sexual harassment allegations against Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and a possible cover up, as well as the story of two alleged victims who were involved in the sexual misconduct claims.
By Jackie Calmes Published Dec 2, 2018
Jackie Calmes is a Contributing Editor at Reason. She teaches a course on the history of women’s politics at George Washington University.
It’s a simple, straightforward rule Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on, but that’s not happening as often as it should: We should treat allegations of sexual assault seriously.
It isn’t just that the #MeToo movement has forced us to confront the long history of sexual harassment and assault — the kind of unrepentant misogyny, violence and institutional sexism that has been used to marginalize and silence women for centuries — that is making this election year so toxic. It’s that, once we accept that fact, the partisan division that has grown over the years between those who believe in due process and fair trials and those who still believe that the accused get to be president is revealed for what it really is, an ugly partisan divide that is hurting the country by perpetuating the status quo.
In the Senate, Republicans are trying hard to ignore this. They are doing what Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) did, in part: They’re trying to ignore and dismiss credible accusations of sexual misconduct against him by two women. This was a man who had access to the women he harassed, and they told a very credible story about being molested in the 1970s and ’80s.
Now, I understand that Franken’s supporters are trying to avoid the real political consequences of their leader’s behavior by playing the victim card. I also understand how they might be concerned about his re-election chances in a state that he helped carry, for the