Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
It was always just a matter of time. Nearly a week after Roy Moore’s first accuser alleged he assaulted her as a teenager, Donald Trump offered his endorsement of the Alabama Senate candidate Tuesday. (Privately, he has questioned the veracity of the claims against him.) “Roy Moore denies it, that’s all I can say,” he told a press gaggle, before adding, “I can tell you one thing for sure, we don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat.”
Trump is no stranger to charges of sexual misconduct; as many as 16 women have come forward with allegations ranging from harassment to assault. If Moore were to step down, Trump could face public pressure to do the same, so it follows that he would throw his weight behind a man who has allegedly victimized teenage girls. Yet new polling data suggests the president’s brand of amorality is pervasive throughout the GOP.
According to Quinnipiac University, 43 percent of Republicans would support a political candidate accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment against just 41 percent who wouldn’t. (As Aaron Blake of the Washington Post observes, they faced this very predicament in 2016, so 41 percent are “either kidding themselves or have suddenly changed their view.”) For Democrats, those numbers are 12 and 81 percent respectively. (Similarly, Blake notes, these figures “must contain a fair amount of converts from the 1990s, when [the party] overwhelmingly supported Bill Clinton for president despite accusations against him.”)
There’s more, and worse. Sixty percent of American voters believe that Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins next month’s special election, but 49 percent of Republicans say he should be allowed to serve. Just 33 percent indicated he should not. Meanwhile, 63 percent of Republicans said that Trump should not be impeached even if the sexual harassment allegations against him were proven true, versus 28 percent who believe he should.
Only so much can be deduced from a single poll, but Quinnipiac’s latest offers further evidence Americans are living in parallel realities. Whether it’s because they don’t trust the media’s reporting or simply don’t find such behavior disqualifying, Republicans do not consider sexual harassment charges a dealbreaker when it comes time to vote. Both parties may be tribal, but one appears considerably more zealous than the other.
H/T Washington Post