• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Explaining Votes for Moore

Judge-Roy-Moore

This is not a post about normative preferences. This is a post about how rules structure choices as well as how political calculations work in a broad sense. It is about policy preferences, hierarchical rankings, and identity in the context of mass behavior in a representative system of government.

If you think it is a post that is arguing in favor in any positive sense for a vote for Roy Moore, please see the first sentence of this post (as well as this post from earlier today).

Now, to business.

Let’s start with a story from Alabama (via AL.com),  Gov. Kay Ivey to vote for Roy Moore in U.S. Senate race:

“I’m going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I’ll vote for,” Ivey said. “I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions. So that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.”

We can even throw in a Kellyanne Conway sighting (via CNN),  Kellyanne Conway on Roy Moore: ‘We want the votes’ for tax bill:

Kellyanne Conway suggested that the White House remains open to Roy Moore’s embattled senate candidacy on Monday when she told Fox & friends that “we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through” — less than a week after Conway said that “no Senate seat is worth more than a child” in the wake of a series of sexual allegations against Moore.

Conway was interviewed by Fox News on Monday morning, and was discussing tax reform when she began hammering Doug Jones, the Democrat in the Alabama Senate race.

“Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime. Weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners.”

Fully recognizing the seriousness of the charges against Moore (and further recognizing that many readers likely have strong opinions about at least one of the persons quoted above), these positions make rational sense as political calculations (whether on abortion, taxes, or any number of other subjects). This is where I again point out that normative judgement about the candidate, or even about the policy options that drive voter choices, is not the point of this post.

This entire scenario underscores what is often pointed out about political campaigns by political scientists:  the candidate matters a lot less than voters (and the press) like to think is the case.  The reality is that voters make a calculated choice based on the options available as to which party will best represent their interests in office.  Voters have to rank their policy preferences and their political identities and then weigh those against the parties (and their candidates) the system produces.  This is made all the more true in electoral systems that limit the choices voters have (such as ours).

This is not to say that candidate quality does not matter at all.  It does, and because it does Moore will, at best, do far more poorly in this special election than would a less controversial Republican nominee.  He may, in fact, lose.

Why point all of this out?  Well, at least for two reasons.  First, is basic understanding.  This is the reality of how electoral politics and mass voting works.  Second, these types of political calculations do not make Moore voters monsters (at least any more monstrous than calculations we all might make)–and recognizing this could help with general discourse (yes, my optimism is showing).  On this latter point is the acknowledgement that such calculations are not limited to one ideological group. The reality is that almost every single person reading these words could make similar choices depending on the available options in a given election.  We tell ourselves we vote the candidate and not the party, but the reality is that most of us vote party (because we are voting policy and identity).  If voting for a scoundrel over the nicest, most moral candidate of all time would further racial justice, reduce income inequality, and promote world peace (while voting for the nice guy would produce the opposite) a lot of people would have no problem voting for the scoundrel.

This is why a lot of sincere feminists voted for, and supported, Bill Clinton.

This is why a lot of social conservatives voted for, and continue to support, Donald Trump.

It is also why voters often justify their support and dismiss real allegations, because most people don’t want to be utilitarians, they just want to be right and so actively rationalize their positions.

I will say, if we move away from empirically explaining behavior to normatively evaluating it:  it is utterly fair to look at a given person’s political calculations and ask whether they did the math right, so to speak.

This is the part of the post wherein I point out that if we had a different electoral system, we would have more parties and therefore there would be more choices on the table for Alabama voters than currently exist. It is here that I would like to underscore yet again the single-seat elections with plurality winners helps to create two large parties. Using primaries to choose candidates only deepens and solidifies that dynamic.
Create a system of rules that force voters into binary choices, they will often have to make decisions based on rank-ordered preferences that might find that voter privileging a specific policy preference (or identity marker) ahead of some personal characteristic that may be repugnant about the candidate (or that the voter feels the need to rationalize away).  The rules matter.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The rules matter.

    And so should principals.
    Even if you can, like the hypocrites who will vote for this man, overlook child molestation…and what kind of sick fvck can ignore child molestation…Moore isn’t even in line with Conservatism.
    He is in fact the very sort of activist judge that Republicans always rail against.
    He doesn’t believe in the rule of law…he does what Roy Moore wants to do.
    I’ve never been to Alabama…but it must be one fvcked-up place.
    BTW…Alabama is one of the worst Red-State Welfare Queens…they could not survive without Blue State support.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  2. @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Like I said in the piece:

    if we move away from empirically explaining behavior to normatively evaluating it: it is utterly fair to look at a given person’s political calculations and ask whether they did the math right, so to speak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Tony W says:

    To me, a Moore win would feel a bit like the R’s winning the battle but losing the war.

    Of course, to them, the battle *is* the war. There’s no desire to govern, just to ‘win’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. gVOR08 says:

    I confess I’ve had, in part, a somewhat unique reaction to Moore. I tend to regard conservative voters as not, generally, very pragmatic. To the extent they vote for Moore because he’ll vote for policies they favor, it’s a rare display of pragmatism.

    I do have to note that wanting Moore to vote for Republican tax “reform” and to repeal Obamacare doesn’t strike me as very pragmatic of them, or bright, or something. But once they’ve decided what they want, for gawd knows what reasons, they should vote for Moore. Just a feminists should have continued to support Clinton. (Also, they may not have been all that upset about a dalliance between consenting adults.)
    __________
    I recommend James Kloppenberg, Reading Obama. He concluded that Obama is a practicing American Pragmatist. I hadn’t previously been aware there was such a thing as capitalized Pragmatism. Obama was, indeed, highly pragmatic, which is why he was so misunderstood by so many people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    …what kind of sick fvck can ignore child molestation…Moore isn’t even in line with Conservatism.
    He is in fact the very sort of activist judge that Republicans always rail against.

    In answer to point one, the sort that wants the tax cuts that the GOP candidate will vote for and the Democratic Candidate will vote against, as Dr. Taylor noted.

    And in answer to point two. No, he isn’t the kind of activist judge that Republicans always rail against; he’s the kind of activist judge that rules in accordance with their world view thereby providing the kind of Constitutional protections that real activist judges are constantly trying to overturn.

    See how it works?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    Republican = bottomless depravity

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. the Q says:

    Here is the rub, everyone equivocates depending on their politics in this partisan environment.

    Dems defend Clinton by pointing out the Lewinsky affair was “consensual between two adults” but they leave out the numerous rape charges because they don’t feel they were proven or credible and besides, the vast right-wing conspiracy was behind this according to the Clintons.

    Moore supporters say the exact same thing about their candidate. To them, none of the Moore accusers have any proof to back up their claims just like Juanita Broderick et al in 1998. Since there is no “proof” just Kathleen Wiley type accusations and the belief among Moore supporters that this is a vast establishment McConnell/Dem conspiracy to “get” their candidate, I would say there is ZERO difference in how each side is reacting.

    If (name your GOP leader here) was caught taking a picture while grabbing breasts of a woman who is sleeping, there is no doubt in my mind the LIbs would be screaming for their scalp.

    And if many of Moore’s female co-workers were to sign a statement saying how much he is a gentleman, liberals would cry whitewash and label them as “enablers”.

    The Dems are being hoisted by their own petards for backing Bill Clinton’s incredible behavior and tarnishing as “tramps” all of his accusers. Moore’s people are taking a page from the Clinton playbook. Lie, dissemble, blame other people.

    The GOP will elect a borderline pedophile as Senator. They will justify their vote by pointing a finger at the Clintons and their actions justifying keeping Bill as President.

    In the GOPs warped minds, two wrongs make a right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  8. Gustopher says:

    @the Q: Why would anyone believe the rape charges, and not the charges that the Clintons murdered dozens of people to protect their drug ring running out of a rural airport in Arkansas? Or that Vince Foster was murdered?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  9. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    @the Q:
    I call BS…no one has spent years and millions of dollars trying to generate something, anything on Moore.
    I don’t know what to think about the rape charges against Clinton because the right wing conspiracy machine has created so much noise around them. They’ve cried wolf way too much over bubkis.
    I don’t like the Clintons…but you cannot ignore the massive conspiracy against them…From Whitewater to Benghazi and Email servers.
    They killed Vince Foster and fooled a half-dozen investigations. They were behind Benghazi and fooled 11 investigations.
    Fvck…even Russia has been involved in trying to make them look bad.
    No…these two things are not the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  10. Hal_10000 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Because the rape charge has actual evidence to support it while the other charges do not. This is not an either-or situation. You can believe that many of the conspiracy theories about WJC are garbage while still believing that some allegations are real or at least worth investigating. For example, the Whitewater investigation got a whole bunch of his buddies and business cronies sent to prison on felony charges. That was real, not a figment of anyone’s imagination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  11. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    “The Greater Good”. “The ends justify the means.” That philosophy, not good intentions, is what the road to hell (voting for a child molester in this case) is really paved with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: I ain’t got time for that shit.

    Seriously, separating the nonsense allegations from the truth would be a full time job. You claim there is evidence of rape, but I also remember people claiming there was evidence that Vince Foster was murdered with a watermelon (not sure I remember the details, it involved a handgun being fired through a watermelon). People claimed to have evidence that Hillary Clinton sat around chortling while diplomats were killed in BENGHAZI!!!. It’s been at a level where everyone has a vague feeling of scumminess with the Clintons, but no one seriously believes any of it other than the Clinton Haters who believe way more than is real.

    If it wasn’t for all the ridiculous bullshit, we might have taken the stories of child sex trafficking in mars seriously, and done something to stop it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: If Clinton was guilty of anything —either Clinton — the Republicans are morally culpable for creating an environment where the Clintons can never be held accountable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  14. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    I tend to regard conservative voters as not, generally, very pragmatic. To the extent they vote for Moore because he’ll vote for policies they favor, it’s a rare display of pragmatism.

    I don’t see it as pragmatism. If they were pragmatic, they woudn’t have nominated him in the first place. That’s something they’ve been doing since the rise of the Tea Party in 2010, when they first started nominating extremist candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle who actually increased the likelihood of a Democratic victory.

    On occasion, the logic of these nominations was explained as essentially a tradeoff: even if you lose a few seats in the process, you succeed in the larger task of purifying your party. But most of the time that’s not how the righties have perceived it. Instead, they sound like Eric Florack here: the party loses when it nominates lame-ass “establishment” Republicans, wins when it nominates true conservatives. So they didn’t think they were sacrificing anything when they chose Moore over Strange. They liked his views, but they also thought he was a stronger candidate–because they’re so mired in the Silent Majority myth they refuse to accept that anything they like is unpopular or bad politics.

    The argument for supporting Moore in the general election over any Democrat isn’t pragmatism, it’s hardcore partisan tribalism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: The lesser of two evils is LESS EVIL.

    Putting up with evil, and not demanding something better, is where damnatation starts. But, vote for the lesser evil, try to replace them with something less evil than that, repeat. Real life isn’t black and white.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Kylopod says:

    @the Q:

    Dems defend Clinton by pointing out the Lewinsky affair was “consensual between two adults” but they leave out the numerous rape charges

    Numerous? As far as I’m aware there was only one rape charge against him, from Juanita Broaddrick. Paula Jones accused him of sexual harassment, Kathleen Willey of having groped her. That’s three accusations, not “numerous,” and only one was of actual rape.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  17. Tyrell says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I don’t believe that everyone in Alabama who supports or votes for Moore is some “red neck racist white male” or the “deplorables” the way some media people are portraying it. There may be some other factors. And it is not all political party loyalty. I have heard some women who are supporting him.
    I have great respect for the people and state of Alabama.
    I have not had the time to research this issue in depth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  18. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    There’s another factor at play here. The allegations against Moore are almost literally sucking up all the oxygen in the race. People are focusing absolutely on Moore and the allegations, and no one is looking at Doug Jones. (Not the tall, skinny, contortionist actor, the Democrat running against Moore.)

    This is a textbook example of Alinsky’s 12th Rule:

    12. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.“ Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

    And let’s head off one line of stupid: no, I’m not saying that Moore is the victim here. Alinsky’s tactic works just as well whether or not the attack is true, false, or basically unprovable. Whether the allegations are fabricated or accurate makes no difference in the success of the move.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  19. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Kylopod:

    they woudn’t have nominated him in the first place

    I don’t think they did. I think he ran on his own accord and got a small plurality of a very large candidate pool. Mostly they didn’t vote for him, they just voted for a potentially better candidate less–sorta like with Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. KM says:

    In the end, you can moralize all you want but a vote for Moore is a vote for a scumbag. He’s got so many questionable ethics it got him kicked off an Alabama bench TWICE and that’s saying something. Even if we left the molestation allegations behind, Moore is *only* the better choice over Jones to them because Jones is a Democrat. They’re flat out lying about him (“weak on crime”! is one of the bigger BS bits) and tagging him with every Dem stereotype they can so he’s indelibly marked as Other.

    Choosing the lesser evil is still choosing evil. As evanglical Christians, they should damn well know that excuses nothing. Wrong is still wrong regardless of motivation. Their new name should be Valueless Voters because any claim to morals for them have gone right out the window.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Moosebreath says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    “I think he ran on his own accord and got a small plurality of a very large candidate pool.”

    No — he was in a run-off against Luther Strange, who had been state Attorney General and was then appointed to fill the seat. Moore won the run-off by 11 points.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: In the end, you can moralize all you want but a vote for Moore is a vote for a scumbag.

    In the end, you can moralize all you want but a vote for Franken is a vote for a scumbag.

    In the end, you can moralize all you want but a vote for Conyers is a vote for a scumbag.

    In the end, you can moralize all you want but a vote for (either) Clinton is a vote for a scumbag.

    Yeah, that works.

    He’s got so many questionable ethics it got him kicked off an Alabama bench TWICE and that’s saying something.

    His first ouster was over his placing a monument to the Ten Commandments on state property. While I agree that was improper, it wasn’t a matter of “ethics.” His second not a removal, but a suspension followed by a resignation, and was over ordering the continuing enforcement of a law banning same-sex marriage — again, improper, but not a matter of “ethics.”

    You’d be on more solid ground if you talked about Moore’s ethics and his connections to the Foundation for Moral Law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  23. al-Ameda says:

    From Kellyanne Conway:


    Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime. Weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners.”

    From the Washington Post:

    Doug Jones, the Democratic Senate candidate in Alabama, made his name as a U.S. attorney in the late 1990s when he successfully prosecuted two members of the Ku Klux Klan for the notorious 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four black girls.

    Let’s see: (1) Jones is part of a successful prosecution of two KKK church bombing domestic terrorists; while (2) Moore is a judge who *alledgedly* had sex with underage (even by Alabama’s legal standard) girls.

    Kellyanne’s conclusion: Jones is weak on crime.

    My conclusion: America is so over

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier :

    His first ouster was over his placing a monument to the Ten Commandments on state property. While I agree that was improper, it wasn’t a matter of “ethics.”

    I’m unclear as to why you wouldn’t think that was unethical in the legal and profession sense of the word. There is clear precedent that a public property shouldn’t have a religious display and Moore went ahead and installed a new one. New, as in, just created and had no historical in-situ context that might have offered a fig leaf of cover. He did it without consulting anyone else but just assumed a public courthouse’s atrium was his to decorate as he saw fit.

    Even if he’d won on First Amend grounds, it would have been unethical due to the way it was carried out. It’s a clear demonstration of how Moore views himself vs his job, duties and coworkers. The man had a 2.5 granite monument randomly brought in without telling anybody because he wanted it. He acted without authorization and then proceeded to disobey the court system – you know, the thing he’s supposed to be working for – because he didn’t want to. He placed his own wants, desires and beliefs above proper execution of his sworn duties and that is a major ethics no-no.

    His business with the Foundation for Moral Law shows him to be a typical fundie hypocrite – he’s in it for the money and power, not morals. The disobedience regarding the moment shows he believes himself to BE the law, not a fair arbitrator of it. It’s a good example of how he’d act as a Senator as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: You’re tormenting the word “ethical” here. There was no great moral principle at play in either of his first matters — they were both political. In one case, he sought to illustrate the connection between the Ten Commandments and modern ideas of justice — something often done. The manner he chose to do so was wrong, and his refusal to correct it made his removal appropriate. But not “unethical.”

    The second case was a dispute over which laws had precedent. He was wrong there, too, and his suspension was also justified. (Again, note the original poster said he was “removed twice” — he wasn’t removed, he was suspended, then removed.) Again, nothing really “unethical” about it — just plain wrong.

    And don’t bother with the “shouldn’t put his own beliefs ahead of the law” crap. That’s the whole idea behind “judicial activism,” and it’s usually applauded by those whose beliefs benefit from the activism. For example, the judge who struck down Trump’s temporary immigration ban had no right to do so — that is an explicit right of the president. It was bad then, it was bad when Moore did it, and it’s bad every single time.

    Finally, His business with the Foundation for Moral Law shows him to be a typical fundie hypocrite – he’s in it for the money and power, not morals.

    Bigotry much? Religious slur (“fundie”), stereotyping (“typical”). Obviously I’m not going to defend it, as I’m the one who brought it up, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give your hate speech a pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  26. the Q says:

    Kylopad, your argument that there was only ONE rape charge is like saying Hitler didn’t kill 6 million jews, only 3 million, so cut Der Fuhrer some slack.

    I guess in your warped ethics, one rape charge isn’t a big deal, but three might be?

    You are exactly the tone deaf neolib defender of Clinton’s behavior that enables the Moore supporters to use similar lines of defense.

    And the foreign donations from dictatorships to the Clinton foundation and Hillary’s 650k speech fees to bankers certainly will come back to haunt us too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  27. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    I guess in your warped ethics, one rape charge isn’t a big deal, but three might be?

    The ethics only come into play if one of the charges is legit. Bill Cosby can assure you that the number of charges has a quality all its own, when it comes to evaluating their credibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Kylopod says:

    @the Q:

    Kylopad, your argument that there was only ONE rape charge is like saying Hitler didn’t kill 6 million jews, only 3 million, so cut Der Fuhrer some slack.

    First of all, the statement that there was only one rape charge isn’t an “argument,” it is simply a fact. You claimed there were “numerous rape charges” against Clinton, and I simply pointed out that your claim is factually untrue. I was not cutting anyone slack, I was correcting you on a factual error. Going with your Hitler example, it would be as if you were to say the Nazis killed 20 million Jews, and I would say “No, they only killed 6 million Jews,” and you would scream “Holocaust denier!”

    You seem to be seriously confused about the difference between fact and opinion. If there have been “numerous rape charges” against Clinton, then tell me what those charges are. Link me to articles documenting those “numerous” charges. If you do, then I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge my error.

    But if you cannot back up your claim that there were “numerous rape charges” against Clinton, then you should apologize for greatly exaggerating the number of accusers.

    Which will it be? I’m waiting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. george says:

    @Gustopher:

    Same reason people might believe the charges against Moore before they’ve been examined by a court of law?

    The problem here is that most people aren’t particularly interested in politics and not even remotely partisan (to the point where 45% of the population can’t even be bothered to vote). And what they hear is hypocrisy all around.

    Talk to some non-political folks (easy to find, they’re by far the majority). They think Trump talking about Franken’s abuse is hilarious. They also think people who automatically believe claims against Moore but take nuanced stances wrt Clinton’s rape charges are hilarious.

    In a way perhaps this is working as intended; the hypocrisy involved keeps many people from bothering to vote because it confirms their sense that you get liars and hypocrites no matter who you elect.

    Its become common in political circles to complain about ‘whataboutism’, but what drives it is hypocrisy, and most people have a deep distrust of hypocrisy. Probably rightly so, because someone who blandly accuses his or her opponent of doing what they themselves are doing sounds like someone too stupid to put in charge of anything. Most folks I know would rather have a liar in charge than a hypocrite, simply because the liar at least knows they’re shoveling manure, while the hypocrite thinks their own sh*t doesn’t stink.

    I think its insane that Moore might get elected, and even crazier that Trump is President. But pretending (or worse, believing) that our side does no wrong is simply insulting the intelligence of every non-partisan potential voter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Gustopher says:

    @george:

    But pretending (or worse, believing) that our side does no wrong is simply insulting the intelligence of every non-partisan potential voter.

    Where have I ever pretended that our side does no wrong? I am not your straw man, I made no such claims.

    I have said that policy can be more important that personal wrongdoing many times. And I have said that the Republican campaign of lies has made it impossible to tell if the Clintons have done wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. the Q says:

    Kylopod, for the record, you incredible pedantic ass, below is the list of Clinton accusers. Lets see how you twist, squirm and gainsay all of their accusation away. And btw, four MORE women came forward today accusing Bill of sexual harassment after he was POTUS,. I guess we should only believe harassment against only GOP members as I am sure these latest women are part of a vast rightwing conspiracy eh?.

    The roster:

    Paula Jones: A former Arkansas state employee, Jones sued Bill Clinton in 1994 for sexual harassment. Jones claims that in 1991 then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton propositioned and exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel. Clinton eventually settled with Jones out of court for $850,000, but never admitted to any wrongdoing.

    Juanita Broaddrick: Broaddrick, a former nursing home administrator, alleges that Bill Clinton, who was running for Arkansas governor at the time, raped her in an Arkansas hotel room in the spring of 1978.

    Kathleen Willey: Willey was a White House volunteer aide who, in March of 1998, alleged on the TV news program 60 Minutes that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted her during his first term as President.

    Eileen Wellstone: Wellstone, an English woman, alleges that Clinton sexually assaulted her after she met him at a pub near Oxford University where Clinton was a student in 1969.

    Carolyn Moffet: Moffet was a legal secretary in Little Rock in 1979, said she met Governor Clinton at a political fundraiser and was invited to his hotel room. Moffet alleges that she fled the hotel room after Clinton demanded she perform sex acts on him.

    Elizabeth Ward Gracen: A Miss Arkansas who would go on to win the Miss America contest in 1982, Gracen alleges that she was forced by Clinton to have sex with him shortly after she won the Miss Arkansas competition.

    Becky Brown: Becky Brown was Chelsea Clinton’s nanny. L.D. Brown, an Arkansas State Trooper and Becky’s husband, claims that Clinton attempted to seduce her in while the two were in governor’s mansion.

    Helen Dowdy: Dowdy, the wife of one of Hillary’s cousins, alleges that in 1986 Bill Clinton groped her on the dance floor of a wedding.

    Cristy Zercher: was a flight attendant aboard Clinton’s campaign jet from 1991-1992. Zercher told the Star magazine that Clinton groped her for over 40 minutes.

    OK Kylo, your turn to dissemble like the lunatic wingnuts. Christ, you neolibs are an embarrassment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  32. the Q says:

    PS, Lets see, thats 2 rapes, 3 sexual harassments, 2 gropings and a partridge in a pear tree….

    Kylopod, a nice apology will do. And perhaps a little humility?

    Which will it be? I am waiting……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  33. Kylopod says:

    @the Q: Okay, let’s take your claims step by step.

    Paula Jones

    I already mentioned her. She sued Clinton for sexual harassment and lost her case with a Republican judge presiding over it. She never accused Clinton of raping her.

    Juanita Broaddrick

    Again, I mentioned her–this is the one actual rape charge against Clinton that I’m aware of.

    Kathleen Willey

    Once again, I mentioned her in my first response.

    Eileen Wellstone: Wellstone, an English woman, alleges that Clinton sexually assaulted her after she met him at a pub near Oxford University where Clinton was a student in 1969.

    Pure rumor from right-wing sources. Not only are the charges themselves unproven, it has never even been verified that Eileen Wellstone exists.

    https://www.snopes.com/bill-clinton-expelled-from-oxford/

    Carolyn Moffet… Elizabeth Ward Gracen… Becky Brown…. Helen Dowdy… Cristy Zercher

    Looking up Moffet, Brown, and Dowdy all brought me to anti-Clinton polemic sites and books. I found no legitimate news sources verifying that these accusations were even made.

    Elizabeth Gracen is a real person who did claim to have had a one-night stand with Bill, though she eluded Ken Starr’s subpoena for her to testify about it in court. In any case, she described the affair as consensual.

    Christy Zercher told a supermarket tabloid that Clinton groped her, but she failed a lie-detector test.

    So there you have it. What we know is that one woman has accused Clinton of rape, one of sexual harassment, and two of groping, though one of the groping claims looks extremely suspect. Then there are a variety of rumors floating across the right-wing world involving women who may or may not exist and who have certainly never come forward to describe their stories to a real news source. Beyond that, he’s a horndog womanizer, as we all knew all along.

    Next?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Kylopod: I already mentioned her. She sued Clinton for sexual harassment and lost her case with a Republican judge presiding over it.

    That’s about half the story, so about 100% misleading.

    Jones’ case was dismissed after Bill Clinton lied about the affair with Lewinsky (which was admissible under a law Bill Clinton himself had signed). Once the affair came out, Jones appealed the ruling — and then Bill settled for most of a million dollars. So that dismissal you tout so gleefully was based on perjury — and it’s eminently fair to conclude that if someone is willing to commit perjury to deny a case, they’re probably guilty.

    So, why are you so eager to cite a ruling based on known, admitted perjury?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  35. Kylopod says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    if someone is willing to commit perjury to deny a case, they’re probably guilty.

    Bull. The most obvious reason why any man would hide an extramarital affair is that they do not want people knowing about the shameful act they committed. What planet do you come from that you would possibly think otherwise? The idea that a person falsely accused of sexual harassment would invariably be completely open about their entire sexual history is insane; it shows a complete lack of understanding of human nature or social taboos. The judge herself deemed the Lewinsky matter not “essential” to the case, and her ruling (in which she said basically that even if Jones’ claims were true they did not rise to the level of sexual harassment) bore that out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. george says:

    @Kylopod:

    I already mentioned her. She sued Clinton for sexual harassment and lost her case with a Republican judge presiding over it. She never accused Clinton of raping her.

    Is conviction in a court of law the standard you’re suggesting for Moore and Trump as well?

    45% of Americans can’t be bothered to vote. Getting even 5% of those will swing any election. And if you talk to unpolitical people, especially those who can’t be bothered to vote regularly, you’ll learn that the single greatest thing that puts them off voting is the hypocrisy on both sides.

    We should pick one standard, and apply it across the board.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. wr says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: “And let’s head off one line of stupid”

    You mean you’re going to stop typing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Kylopod says:

    @george:

    Is conviction in a court of law the standard you’re suggesting for Moore and Trump as well?

    I never suggested it was a reasonable standard for Clinton. I so far haven’t expressed any opinion on what I think of Clinton as a person or even whether I believe he’s guilty of the accusations brought by Jones, Willey, or Broaddrick. The fact that you’d think I was is a good indication why it’s so hard to have a rational discussion on these matters. All I’ve been doing thus far is pointing out false statements (like Q’s claim that there have been “numerous rape charges” against Clinton) and fallacies (like Bob’s claim that Clinton’s perjury over Lewinsky proves his probable guilt in the Jones case).

    The Bill Cosby case is, for lack of a better term, a “gold standard” when it comes to men accused of assault. Not only did numerous woman accuse him, they all described more or less the same thing: being drugged and raped by him. Even if there’s no physical evidence to corroborate the accounts, and even if we discount his own confession to having given women Quaaludes, unless there’s some massive conspiracy we don’t know about, it’s very likely he’s guilty based on the accusations alone. I don’t know if that would be enough to convict in a court of law, but it sure is convincing.

    The Clinton accusations are a lot more ambiguous. Apart from those women mentioned on the right-wing sites whose very existence has yet to be confirmed, there are basically three accusers whose accounts can even be remotely described as credible: Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broaddrick. And all three described different acts: Jones described Clinton exposing himself to her, Willey described being groped, and Broaddrick described being raped. That’s far from a clear pattern, especially when you consider Clinton has been in public life for over 40 years and nothing else along these lines has surfaced beyond his obvious philandering. That doesn’t mean the accusations are false, but it isn’t unreasonable to suggest they’re inconclusive.

    I apply precisely the same standard to any other public figure regardless of party. For that matter, while Trump is very likely guilty of assault against numerous women, the case that he actually raped anyone is muddier. His ex-wife Ivana claimed he once raped her, but she later retracted the claim. There’s also a woman who claims she was raped by Trump when she was just 13, but personally I think the story is suspect. In any case, there have been no other claims of rape, let alone child rape, brought against Trump.

    Being a serial philanderer is not proof of assault, and even being guilty of sexual assault does not necessarily imply the person is a rapist. Charges of sexual wrongdoings are not all created equal, and it is not partisan hypocrisy to point that out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. george says:

    @Kylopod:

    Fair enough, that’s a pretty consistent statement. However I think your take is (sadly) quite rare among political types.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Matt says:

    Juanita Broaddrick is the one who in a sworn affidavit said

    During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies. Newspaper and tabloid reporters hounded me and my family, seeking corroboration of these tales. I repeatedly denied the allegations and requested that my family’s privacy be respected. These allegations are untrue and I had hoped that they would no longer haunt me, or cause further disruption to my family.

    and

    I do not possess any information that could possibly be relevant to the allegations advanced by Paula Corbin Jones or which could lead to admissible evidence in her case. Specifically, I do not have any information to offer regarding a nonconsensual or unwelcome sexual advance by Mr. Clinton, any discussion offer or provision of state or federal employment or advancement in exchange for sexual conduct, or any use of state troopers to procure women for sex. Requiring my testimony at a deposition in this matter would cause unwarranted attorney’s fees and costs, disruption to my life and constitute an invasion of my right to privacy. For these reasons, I have asked my attorney to advise Ms. Jones’s counsel that there is no truth to the rumors they are pursuing and to provide her counsel with this sworn affidavit.

    So she makes all kinds of claims right up till she’s held legally liable for them. As soon as she’s required to be truthful by the law she says nothing happened…

    Kenneth Starr did not find her or her claims credible at all and dismissed her. That alone should be enough to put a stake in her claims.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Matt says:

    @Matt: Kenneth Starr didn’t find her credible at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0