The speed with which Democrat Senators turned on Al Franken was startling.
After the first few allegations of groping, including the infamous breast-squeezing photo, Democrats mostly shrugged their shoulders. It was uncomfortable for Democrats, but not fatal. There were few calls for Franken to resign from his fellow Democrat Senators.
After all, it’s hard to claim zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault when Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton are the two modern icons of the Democratic Party.
Then as if on a dime, everything changed in a day when an additional woman came forward to allege groping. Franken denied that allegation, but no matter, one after another after another female Democrat Senator lined up calling for Franken to resign.
NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand seemed to be the straw that broke the Democrats blockade. Once six female Senators called for his resignation, the Democratic men of the Senate piled on. By the end of the day, I think the head count was over 30 Democrat Senators, representing the majority of their caucus, calling for Franken to resign.
Franken dutifully obliged, sort of, in a resignation speech that expressed very little if any apology, and left the door open just a touch to a change of mind. Franken would resign, he said, down the road.
When the pile on happened, it’s clear it wasn’t about Al Franken or even the women accusers. It was about Democrat politics and plans.
Franken was just a sacrificial man in a greater Democrat cause.
If I were a progressive who voted Democrat, I’d be furious. One emotion I’ve seen a lot of on Twitter is that Democrats don’t defend their own while Republicans do. Historically that’s not an accurate view, Democrats defend their boorish women-abusing men to the bitter end. But in the age of Trump it’s hard for them to view anything with historical perspective.
At one level, the sacrifice was to set up Democrats to make an argument against Roy Moore and later, Donald Trump. Democrats and their supporters couldn’t even wait for Franken’s quasi-resignation speech to shift gears into arguing that getting rid of Franken proved Democrats were more pure than Republicans. Demands were made immediately that Republicans turn on Roy Moore, but Democrats really don’t care about Moore. Those demands quickly shifted into demands that Republicans dump Trump, or at least put Trump on trial in the Congress for Trump’s alleged sexual misdeeds.
Throwing Franken overboard was about getting rid of Trump, or at least relitigating the 2016 election.
At a deeper level, the sacrifice of Franken reflects a deeper Democratic obsession with the War on Women as a campaign theme. That’s a theme which worked wonders on Mitt Romney, and his mythical Binders Full of Women. And by any logic, it should have worked wonders on Donald Trump with a woman on the Democratic ticket. The charges against Trump were litigated during the election, the women accusers held press conferences and were featured in the mainstream media, and it all failed spectacularly.
Democrats have not yet recovered from the 2016 loss to Trump. It wasn’t just that their worlds collapsed around 2 a.m. on November 9, it’s that their campaign worldview collapsed. How could the War on Women fail against this guy? It was the ultimate insult.
Like the hammer that thinks every problem is a nail, Democrats are going back to the War on Women campaign theme for 2018 and 2020. In order to do that, they need to clean house in a very visible and public way, in a way that allows them, in their own minds, to claim the moral high ground.
Someone needed to be made an example. And that someone was Al Franken.DONATE
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