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What Roy Moore's loss says about smart politics

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15.12.2017

Roy Moore’s party has been punished for his refusal to do the right thing. While some Republican leaders wanted him to drop out of the Alabama Senate race after nine women accused him of sexual misconduct against them when they were teenagers, Moore refused – and went on to lose to Democrat Doug Jones in a special election Tuesday. That means Democrats who fretted that Al Franken shouldn’t have been pushed out of the Senate over the sexual misconduct allegations against him were wrong.

Moore’s insistence on staying in the race underscores how differently the nation’s main political parties have responded when their members have been accused of sexual harassment and assault. While the Democratic Party has forced influential legislators like Michigan Representative John Conyers and Minnesota Senator Al Franken to resign, Moore was ultimately supported by the Republican National Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump himself – a man who not only has been accused of sexual harassment by at least 15 women but was caught on tape in 2005 boasting about kissing and groping women without their permission. (Republican congressman Trent Franks of Arizona resigned in response to sexual harassment allegations, but he did not face the public pressure from his party that Franken and Conyers did.)

Given this context, it’s tempting to say, as some liberals did on social media, that it’s wrong for Democrats to do the right thing by demanding more of their leaders. But the result in Alabama suggests that, aside from being right on the merits, dropping candidates who have........

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