Why would Roy Moore drop out?! He heard Donald Trump last October openly brag about sexually assaulting women in the Access Hollywood tape. And after that, 16 women came forward to publicly state that Trump had sexually assaulted them. Trump responded by publicly shaming these women, calling them “liars” at an October 2016 campaign rally: “Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign.”
What happened next? Well after the pro forma denunciations by certain Republicans, the GOP base rallied around Trump. In fact, we saw a woman attend a Trump rally proudly wearing a shirt that read: “Trump can grab my” with an arrow down to her genitals.
And come election Day, Trump won receiving the support of 81 percent of white Evangelical voters and 53 percent of white women. In fact, Trump did better among white evangelicals than George W. Bush who was a white evangelical!
So Moore took a page from Republican Party leader Trump and called the allegation that he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old “fake news.” And now we have many Republicans openly defending Moore like Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler who literally invoked Jesus to help Moore: “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” Ziegler added, “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) slammed Republicans who were critical of Trump as being anti-Trumpers.
And Fox News’s Sean Hannity immediately defended Moore by saying his relationship with the 14-year-old girl was “consensual.” But after a firestorm erupted, Hannity was forced to backpedal and claim he had “misspoke.” Apparently it took others in the media like CNN’s Jake Tapper to remind Hannity that an adult having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old is never acceptable- in fact, it’s illegal.
True, some Republicans did say if the allegations are true, Moore should step down. Among them was Trump who stated this morning without any sense of irony that, “if allegations are true he will do the right thing and step aside.”
But let’s be blunt, if a woman came forward and declared that a Democratic candidate had engaged in a sexual relationship with her when she was fourteen, there would be no waiting to see “if true.” The Republicans and their media outlets would fully accept the claims as being 100 percent accurate.
We saw that very scenario in the past with Bill Clinton and more recently with Harvey Weinstein who had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates. In fact, the very Hannity who defended Moore’s relationship as “consensual” blamed the entire left for Weinstein saying, “This is beyond despicable, beyond shameful, these rumors have been out there for years, and it’s not surprising from the left.” Hannity added, “Liberals love to be so sanctimonious, holier than thou, but they’re really hypocrites.”
It’s as if Hannity has no clue where he has worked for years and the allegations of sexual harassment and assault that swirled against the anchors and even the head of his network.
But as I’ve learned, you can’t shame the right. They are immune to cries of hypocrisy. They will defend those on the right who engage in the very same conduct they crucify those on the left for committing.
Through this all we have learned one thing: Republicans will not believe women who accuse Republican men of sexual assault or misconduct. In fact, they will passionately defend them. But they will gladly believe those who accuse Democrats of the very same thing. That is why Moore will not step down. He understands this. And he’s certain that the same white evangelicals and white women in his state who supported Trump will come out December 12 in the Alabama special Senate election and send him to the U.S. Senate.
Moore is likely right, unless, that is, one big thing happens: We see a surge of female voters like we saw on Election Day Tuesday in Virginia. Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam received a higher percentage of female votes than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. The women of Virginia wanted to send a message to Trump and they did just that giving the Democrats an historic victory from the top of the ticket down to the state legislator races.
And now the women of Alabama have the very same opportunity. They, too, can send a message to not just the GOP but to the nation that we should believe all women who come forward to allege sexual misconduct -regardless of the political party of the wrongdoer.
Here’s hoping they do just that – and not because it’s good for the Democratic party – but because it’s good for our nation.
Dean Obeidallah, a former trial lawyer, hosts the national progressive radio program The Dean Obeidallah Show on SiriusXM radio and is a columnist for The Daily Beast.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.