DemDaily: The Damaged

December 7, 2017

In one of the swiftest, and long-overdue reckonings of injustice, victims of sexual harassment are coming forward nationwide in a movement that is demanding change in boardrooms, businesses, locker rooms and legislatures in every state.

The House Committee on Administration will hold its second hearing today on the overhaul of the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act which established the current system for reporting and adjudicating sexual harassment claims.

While the nation is heralding the courage of "The Silence Breakers," and celebrating the demise of their high-profile abusers, the long-term effects of the public cleansing have yet to be measured.

Time's Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers

Although the most immediate repercussions can be seen in the downfall of the publicly damaged abusers, the final fate of those in elected office may not be determined until next November.

Moral Victory
While Democrats have acted more decisively in condemning their own, openly calling for the resignation of at least two very high profile Congressional Members, it remains to be seen if taking the moral high road will translate into electoral victories.

Republicans, however, appear to have given up moral authority in favor of the seat count. Most of the accused GOP lawmakers are in "red" states where the demographics still favor a Republican outcome.

A November 16-17 HuffPost/YouGov Poll shows Democrats are far more critical of sexual harassment within their own party than are Republicans. Only 40% of Republicans thought sexual harassment was "a very or somewhat serious problem" within their party, while 60% of Democrats said it was a problem among themselves.
Outside of the President himself, the GOPs highest profile abuser is Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, whose alleged crimes include assaulting a teenager. Yet the Republican National Committee, fearing the loss of a US Senate seat and their majority, this week reversed their official call for Moore to step down and reinstated their financial support for his December 12th election bid.

The first round of the accountable in Congress involved accusations running from backrubs, affairs and use of tax payer dollars to settle harrassment suits, to molestation of minors.

With the revelation of each new lawmaker, the accused must weigh resignation, risk a Senate or House Ethics Committee investigation, and/or, ultimately, the wrath of their constituency.

"I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party."

--Senator Al Franken announcing his resignation today

High Profile Politicians in the Hotseat
State Party Elected Official (or former) Office Status
Alabama Republican Roy Moore Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice and Candidate, US Senate Special Election Moore has refused to drop out of the December 12th Special Election. If he wins, he may face immediate censure or similar action by his new Senate colleagues. Lean Republican
Arizona Republican Trent Franks Congressman (AZ-8) Just announced today that Franks is expected to resign amid rumors of "inappropriate behavior."  2018: Likely Republican
Michigan Democrat John Conyers US Congressman (MI-1) "Retired" December 6, 2017. Special Election date to be determined. Likely Democrat
Minnesota Democrat Al Franken US Senator (MN) Announced pending resignation December 7, 2017. Governor appoints interim Senator until November, 2018 Special Election.
Lean Democrat
Nevada Democrat Ruben Kihuen US Congressman (NV-4) Announced December 5th that he Will Not Resign. Kihuen beat a Republican incumbent Cresent Hardy in 2016. In 2018 he Faces re-election in an already tough seat. Likely Republican.
Pennsyvlania Republican Tim Murphy US Congressman (PA 18) Resigned October 21, 2017. A Special Election will be held March 13, 2018Lean Republican
Texas Republican Blake Farenthold US Congressman (TX 27) Originally cleared by Office of Congressional Ethics, but being asked to appear again. 2018: Likely Republican
Texas Republican George H.W. Bush Former US President Despite recent allegations, Bush's offenses are written off as "another era" politician.

Sexual harrassment is not exclusive to any demographic or political party, but those who continue to preach puritan politics should tread lightly with the knowledge that the axe could fall in their own back yard.

There is no end to the number of victims, and for those voices, it is just the beginning.

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily The Conscience of Congress 11/27/17

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Time, NewYorkDailyNews, NewYorkTImes, LosAngelesTimes, WashingtonPost, Politico, Ballotpedia, CNN

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