The Orange County Young Democrats are incredibly discouraged by the sexual harassment and abuse allegations coming out involving so many elected officials and candidates – in both political parties. We are also disheartened by the delayed reaction to these allegations from our nations’ leaders. Let’s be clear: From Roy Moore (R-Al) and several GOP state legislators on the right, to Al Franken (D-Minn.) and John Conyers (D-MI) on the left, it is evident that sexual harassment is a serious problem in all levels of US politics. Sadly, in our own state legislature, Sen. Tony Mendoza and Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra also used their positions of power to harass young women. This culture of harassment in American politics starts at the very top, with a President who has famously bragged about “grabbing” women by the “p**y.”
The question is: What happens next? Will these men be forgiven, or will leaders in both parties send a clear message that sexual assault and sexual harassment have no place in US politics?
In our view, Sen. Mendoza should resign, as Assemblymember Bocanegra has done.
All members of both parties should call for Roy Moore to drop out of the senate race immediately. There is no place in the United States Senate for Roy Moore. He engaged in seriously wrongful sexual conduct with underage girls – this is despicable, criminal, and absolutely disqualifying.
As for Senator Franken and Representative Conyers, there must be a full and fair investigation, and both must face the consequences of any investigation. No option – including resignation – should be off the table.
A final note: When the allegations about Franken first surfaced, some in our own party were quick to leap to his defense. They said – what he did is not criminal. He’s no Roy Moore. He apologized. The women who accused him have checkered pasts. But the question is not whether Franken is equally guilty to Moore. The question is not whether Franken’s victims are less wholesome than Moore’s. The question, instead, is whether one who abuses their power is fit to serve in one of the most powerful positions in America. The answer must be no. As Democrats, we must practice what we preach, and hold anyone who abuses their power to sexually harass individuals accountable for their actions.