The Democratic Party’s internal controversy over Senator Al Franken (D-MIN) is finally coming to an end. A Democratic insider has revealed to MPR that the embattled Senator will be resigning tomorrow due to the numerous sexual harassment and assault complaints that have been made against him in the past few weeks.
The official spoke to Franken and separately to Franken’s staff. A staff member told the official that Franken had gone to his Washington home to discuss his plans with family.
MPR News agreed to withhold the official’s name because the official wanted to give Franken the chance to talk about his decision in his own words.
This morning, an eighth woman came forward this morning to accuse Senator Al Franken (D-MIN) of forcibly trying to kiss her and said that Franken had told her that “it’s my right as an entertainer”- a phrase that is disturbingly sinister to Donald Trump’s infamous “when you’re a star, they’ll let you do it” line from the Access Hollywood sex assault admission tape.
That accusation prompted dozens of Democratic Senators, beginning with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), to call on Franken to do the right thing and step down from his office.
The debate over what to do with Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who was discovered to have secretly settled several sexual harassment lawsuits, has created a sharp divide in Democratic circles.
Some short-sighted and frankly unprincipled individuals are quick to excuse Franken and have chosen to argue that since self-admitted sexual predator Donald Trump and accused pedophile Roy Moore aren’t stepping down from office, Democrats shouldn’t have to either.
This is extremely problematic because that works both ways; we already see right-wingers rushing to use Franken as a way to excuse Trump and Moore over their own accusations.
It cedes the moral high ground – which the Democratic base ostensibly cares about – and strips us of moral consistency, exposing us to be just as duplicitous and partisan as the Republicans.
Secondly, it contributes and cultivates a social culture that tolerates and excuses sexual harassment and assault – the rape culture that allowed Trump to be elected to the White House in the first place, as noted by progressive activist Beth Lynch.
The Democratic Party cannot claim to be the party of progress and of representing women’s rights if we instantly revert to partisan tribalism over accusations of serious misdeeds committed by members of our own party.
We applaud Franken for doing the right thing and putting his country and his party over his career.
Can you ever imagine a Republican doing that?