After being accused of sexual harassment by radio anchor Leeann Tweeden, Democratic Minnesota Senator Al Franken issued two apologies, admitting to his behavior and calling for an ethics investigation into his own conduct.
Many on the left say this isn’t enough and are calling on Franken to resign from office. This New York Times op-ed contends that if Franken doesn’t resign, other women who’ve faced sexual harassment might hesitate to come forward and that democrats must keep riding the current movement for accountability.
Others are defending Franken for his track record on women’s issues, saying calling for his resignation wouldn’t be politically pragmatic and would set a bad precedent for future democratic politicians whose misconduct comes to light. In this Washington Post op-ed, the author argues that it’s better to create a pathway to reform and keep a liberal in office than to oust them and leave a gap for a Republican who would vote against women’s interests.
Meanwhile Republican Roy Moore is denying mounting allegations of sexual harassment and assault of minors against a background of mixed GOP reactions, ranging from calls for him to drop out of the U.S. senate race by GOP leaders such as Mitch McConnell and continued support from the Alabama Republican Party.
While these are different situations with different facts, both Moore and Franken present a pragmatic challenge to their respective parties – to remove them from their political positions or to keep them in power so they can continue representing their respective party values; personal values versus political ones.
So what is to the greater benefit to each party? What will this mean for the national conversation about accountability for sexual harassers? And which is the more pragmatic route?
Jessica Taylor, lead digital political reporter for NPR in DC who’s been following the story