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Democrats face hot-potato politics of sexual predation, too

20 4 15
24.11.2017

Democrats have been quick to support the "me too" chorus of women — and some men — who have stepped up to allege sexual misconduct and name names. But now "me too" stains the Democrats, too, putting them in an awkward place as they calibrate how forcefully to respond.

Allegations against Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan are part of the newest chapter in the hot-potato politics of sexual predation for the party, which has its own fraught history on the subject.

The latest revelations have prompted a hard look back at the way Democrats and their allies once circled the wagons around President Bill Clinton, dismissing allegations that extended to serious assault as mere dalliances or the tales of "looney" women.

In her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton drew a clear line on behalf of women who allege sexual assault, saying flatly: "You have the right to be believed." But she equivocated when asked if her husband's accusers from another decade should be believed, too: "I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence."

The pressure's on now to act without equivocation.

Franken's prankish photo of his hands over a napping woman's breasts on a military plane, combined with her allegations that he kissed her forcibly on another occasion, prompted swift condemnation from throughout the party's ranks and inspired calls for an ethics investigation that the senator-in-hiding supported, too. Then a second woman came forward, alleging Franken grabbed her buttocks during a photo op at a state fair.

And now,........

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