Since When Do Voters Decide Who Is Guilty of Sexual Assault?

How do you handle allegations of sexual assault? While it can be complex navigating a he-said/she-said situation, I can tell you how it absolutely shouldn’t be handled: putting the allegations to a public vote. Dumbfoundingly, that’s how many Republican officials are actually suggesting how these matters should be settled, though.

After Republicans took a stance against senatorial candidate Roy Moore, it later became clear that he could win the race anyway. Now McConnell has gone from asking Moore to exit the race to instead saying “let the people of Alabama make the call.”

Evidently, it’s a response that the GOP must feel has worked well enough for Moore that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is now trying it out as a defense for Donald Trump. At Thursday’s press briefing Sanders said, “The president addressed [those sexual harassment allegations] during the campaign. We feel strongly the people of this country addressed it when they elected Donald Trump as president.”

Essentially, Sanders is positing that since a lot of the allegations came to light before the election, the American people must not give a crap and therefore CASE CLOSED.

But look – voters don’t get to decide culpability on sexual assault, that’s not how our justice system works. Judges have a much more nuanced understanding of the law to sift through the allegations. Think of how many times throughout history that justice would have been denied if determined by a matter of public opinion.

Sure, juries sometimes get to vote in cases of this sort, but that’s after attorneys have vetted for potential bias and the jurors have carefully listened to all of the evidence pertaining to the charges.

That’s not what’s happening in Alabama, where Republicans have been quick to dismiss allegations against Moore as a liberal plot to take the candidate down. Many of them don’t even realize that the earliest accusers were Republicans who voted for Trump.

As for Trump, his legal team is attempting to prevent one of his accusers from taking him to court on the grounds that the president is above the law. So much for justice.

If the situation weren’t so tragic, it might almost be funny how GOP leaders are hiding behind “let the people decide” while one of the most common talking points for conservatives throughout these misconduct sagas is that it’s not proper for the public to judge accused assaulters if they haven’t been convicted of a crime. If people aren’t allowed to condemn based on public allegations, how are their votes a referendum on that person’s guilt?

Republican leaders do not get to absolve themselves of wrongdoing by suggesting that the people have the final say on these matters. When Republican leaders endorse these candidates anyway and donate money to their campaign, they’re implicitly telling their supporters that the crimes these politicians stand accused of don’t matter.

Remember that with Moore and Trump, it’s not just he said/she said — it’s he said/she said and she said and she said and she said… At a certain point we have an obligation to listen, especially to claims about a president who has bragged on tape about committing sexual assault. Leadership with the Republican Party are forfeiting any illusion of having morals by declining to take a stand.

Although voters really shouldn’t be tasked with deciding whether or not misconduct with teenage girls is something that can be overlooked, hopefully the people of Alabama will heed the Republican’s message anyway and say, “If it’s being left up to a vote, we vote against Moore.”

Take Action

It’s not too late to sign this petition telling Roy Moore to take responsibility for his actions and drop out of the race.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

72 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

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Lesa D
Lesa D3 months ago

#31600 petition signed...

thank you Kevin

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s4 months ago

Crazy, previously signed.

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Ann B
Ann B4 months ago

not STRANGE---NUTS

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Chad A
Chad A4 months ago

Thank you!

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Janis K
Janis K4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 months ago

strange country you have

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 months ago

th

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