Failing to mention Trump's credible rape claim in our debates has already done damage

Two corroborating witnesses, both prominent members of New York’s media establishment, recently came forward in a NY Times podcast to say that E. Jean Carroll called them after Donald Trump allegedly sexually assaulted her in the Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.

One of them told her to file a police report right away, but the other said to forget it because, “he has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you.”  That was the one whom she listened to. Given how we still treat victims of sexual violence in this country, that is sadly understandable. Blasey Ford has been forced to quit working, hired a private security firm and has even gone into hiding. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh sits on the highest court in the land.  

Carroll’s allegation didn’t come out of the left field—the president has a long history of bragging about sexual assault and bursting into dressing rooms.  You can read about each of the 24 accusers if you have the stomach for it. For his part, Trump has responded by calling each one of them liars and promised to sue them. For Carroll, Trump smeared her, then lied about never meeting her, and then capped it off by saying she wasn’t his “type.”

x

This is the President of the United States we are talking about. All of this current impeachment talk about “high crimes and misdemeanors” begs the question: 

If rape doesn’t reach that bar, what in the world does? 

There is more than enough evidence to investigate the obscene sexual misconduct of the White House’s current occupant.  What’s more, there’s been a bi-partisan call to do just that.

Yet it won’t happen. The GOP doesn’t want it, and the Democrats don’t have the spine.

There are simply too many Republicans that have made the evil decision that they will justify and ignore everything and anything this president does for their unholy trinity of wealthy tax cuts, judges, and power. The president said he could murder someone in cold blood on 5th Avenue, and it wouldn’t make a difference with his idiot supporters. He’s 100% right. He might as well have added that he could rape someone on that street as well. The GOP has proven they will never abandon him—in fact, they’d denigrate and blame the victim, or plead ignorance, or just call it a day by labeling it “consensual rape.” They’ve already done all of those things.

But none of this—NONE OF IT—means that the Democrats and the media have to make it so damn easy for them.

Over 20 candidates and half-dozen moderators were on stage for over two nights of Democratic debates, and not one of them thought to bring this up. Why? It’s certainly not that the latest allegation isn’t credible. No, it’s because Democrats have essentially given up. They’ve resigned themselves to the fact that America doesn’t care about what Trump does to women, and so they decided to move on to numerous other issues. 

This has caused significant damage in so many ways.

First of all, our nation is clearly moving on from this, but only because we have cynically decided to move on from this. If the primary torchbearers against Trump don’t seem to care then many others won’t care either. It’s only not an issue because we decided not to make it an issue. Do you remember the big issue from the GOP from 2012 to 2016?  It was a complete bogus line of attack: Benghazi.

Just because Benghazi was based on a foolish conspiracy theory, it didn’t stop the GOP from investigating Hillary with nonstop hearings spanning over a dozen committees. It was mentioned constantly on every rightwing outlet and in every speech made by GOP politicians. On the flip side, can you think of anything more disturbing than having a rapist as Commander-in-Chief? Unlike Benghazi, Trump’s sexual misconduct is pretty clear: the man can’t help but brag about it.  So why the hell hasn’t Nancy Pelosi called for investigations into this? What the hell does this president have to do?? 

Second of all, if the rape of a woman from a presidential candidate can’t even merit a mention at our debates, then exactly how can we get angry at the state of our nation for shrugging off the claims of these women? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with dire consequences beyond just winning an important election. Morally, we have an obligation to stand up for the survivors. No one else will. We are failing them.

When I finished watching the Democratic debates, I thought about one person who I imagine no one else was thinking of: Bill Cosby. For a thought exercise, imagine if he had decided to run for president several years ago, and won. He makes as much sense as Trump did: he was far more gifted as a television star, more highly educated, could genuinely point to great things that he accomplished, and had real charities that he never stole from. Yet Cosby, as you well know, has also been credibly accused of a wide range of sexual misconduct, to include rape, from multiple women.  Just try to imagine the utter absurdity of the opposing party holding multiple debates with no one thinking to bring up any of his rape allegations. It would be ridiculous, right?

So when the hell did we decide it’s okay to do that with Donald J. Trump?

For that matter, how can we expect more women to ever come forward?  Doing so clearly risks your livelihood and even your life. I shouldn’t have to say this: Standing up for rape survivors is just something you need to do. I can’t promise it will be the deciding factor of who wins Ohio, but if it makes someone somewhere think there might be a consequence down the road, it might just help somebody.  

As Democrats, we were given an opportunity last week and we screwed up big time on this.  We have to do better. 

Advertisements

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.