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Seventh Woman Alleges Al Franken Groped Her As Calls For His Resignation Mount

al-franken

Al Franken is facing more charges of sexually inappropriate behavior toward women and this time it is being followed up by calls on him to resign by several of his fellow Democratic colleagues:

A former Democratic congressional aide said Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a U.S. senator.

The aide, whose name POLITICO is withholding to protect her identity, said Franken (D-Minn.) pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. When she turned around, Franken was in her face.

The former staffer ducked to avoid Franken’s lips. As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” the aide said in an interview. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.'”

The former staffer, who was in her mid-20s at the time of the incident, said she did not respond to Franken.

(…)

Franken, who has been accused by six other women of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them, denied the accusation.

“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO.

The woman in question also said that Franken said to her that it was his “right as an entertainer” to go after her in this manner, and the report has led at least six of Franken’s Democratic colleagues to call on him to resign:

A half dozen Senate Democratic women called for Senator Al Franken to resign Tuesday as a sixth woman came forward to charge that the Minnesota Democrat had made an improper advance on her.

“Enough is enough,” declared Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

She was joined by Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, who issued statements in a coordinated effort that is likely to jeopardize Mr. Franken’s political future.

As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards — not the lowest,” Ms. Gillibrand wrote on Facebook. “The allegations against Sen. Franken describe behavior that cannot be tolerated. While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve.”

Mr. Franken, a Democrat of Minnesota, has apologized for his behavior, but the senators said his admissions are not enough.

“I have been shocked and disappointed to learn over the last few weeks that a colleague I am fond of personally has engaged in behavior toward women that is unacceptable,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “I consider Senator Franken to be a friend and have enjoyed working with him in the Senate in our shared fight to help American families. But this moment of reckoning about our friends and colleagues who have been accused of sexual misconduct is necessary, and it is painful. We must not lose sight that this watershed moment is bigger than any one industry, any one party, or any one person.”

The charge made public today comes in the wake of the resignation of Congressman John Conyers amid a series of allegations of harassment and other inappropriate behavior on his part over a number of years, as well as the settlement of such claims using taxpayer dollars. It also comes on the same day that Time Magazine had chosen women who have come forward to speak out about being sexually harassed as the “Person Of The Year.” The allegations against Franken began less than a month ago when Los Angeles news anchor Leann Tweeden revealed an incident that occurred during a 2006 USO Tour she was on with Franken during which she claimed he tried to forcibly kiss her and, later, to appear in pictures where he appeared to be groping a sleeping Tweeden while the two were on an airplane during the tour. Just a few days later, a second woman came forward to allege that Franken had groped her while posing for a photograph with her at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010 after he had become a Senator. That same week, two more women came forward to make similar allegations against Franken and alleged incidents that had happened during a different USO Tour in 2006 than the one Tweeden was part of and at a political event in Minnesota in 2007 when Franken was beginning his campaign for the United States Senate. Most recently, similar accusations have been made by two more women, including an Army veteran and an as-yet-unidentified political official from New England, both of whom say that Franken groped them. With today’s report, there are now seven women accusing Franken of sexually inappropriate behavior, all within the relatively recent time period of 2006 to 2010.

Here is Gillibrand’s Facebook post, along with social media statements be several other Democrats, including Tom Perez, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee:

In the time since I began writing this post, the number of Democrats who have stepped forward in light of this latest allegation to call on Franken to resign has increased to thirteen, and that number is only likely to increase as the day goes on. So far, Franken’s office has been quiet outside of the denial that he issued last night, but it’s clear that this isn’t going to be sufficient for Franken’s colleagues, or for his constituents. The most recent poll in Minnesota has shown that an increasing number of voters think that the Senator should step aside and his job approval numbers have plummeted in the weeks since the allegations came out. Franken was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014 and does not face re-election until 2020, so theoretically he could refuse to leave office and ride this out until then. While he does face a Senate Ethics Committee investigation in the wake of these reports, it seems unlikely that the Senate would move to expel him, a move that would require the assent of two-thirds of the members of the Senate although it’s possible that could change if additional charges come out but the investigation would effectively end if Franken were to step aside. If Franken does step aside, though, it will not have an impact on the partisan composition of the Senate since his immediate replacement would be named by the state’s Democratic Governor. Additionally, given the nature of the state, it’s likely that a Democrat would win any Special Election.

These new allegations also come in the wake of several similar accusations that have swept across Capitol Hill since the issue of sexual harassment and assault has come to the forefront. California Congresswoman Jackie Spier, who recently shared her own story of having been sexually harassed in the past, stated that she is aware of at least two currently serving men on Capitol Hill, one from each party, who have been accused of sexually inappropriate contact toward female staffers or other women.  Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, of course, has been accused of several instances of sexually inappropriate behavior, including two women who accuse him of having sexually assaulted them when they were under sixteen years old.Additionally, Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold is under pressure to resign after it was reported that he had used $84,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim by a former female staffer. Undoubtedly, there are more such allegations to come and more sitting members of the House and Senate are likely to face pressure to step aside as decades of silence are broken.

Update: An eighth woman has come forward with an allegation against Franken:

Another woman came forward Wednesday with an allegation of sexual misconduct against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is facing calls to resign from a majority of Democratic senators.

Tina Dupuy said Franken groped her while posing for a photo during a party for the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters to celebrate Barack Obama’s first inauguration as president. Dupuy, who said she’d been married for two years at the time, said she approached Franken for a picture, after which he inappropriately touched her.

“We posed for the shot,” she wrote in a piece for The Atlantic. “He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.”

Dupuy said the incident “shrunk” her down from feeling like a person to a mere ornament. “He wanted to cop a feel and he demonstrated he didn’t need my permission,” she wrote.

Dupuy said the event occurred after a recount had been called for in a Senate race that Franken would go on to win to gain his seat in Congress.

The allegation emerges as Franken faces a firestorm of calls from Democratic officials in his own chamber to resign. An overwhelming majority of Democratic senators, spearheaded by a group of female lawmakers Wednesday morning, called for the Minnesota lawmaker to step aside amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a Facebook post.

Additionally, Franken will hold a press conference tomorrow at which he will address these latest allegations and the calls for his resignation:

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) will make an announcement on Thursday as he faces growing calls from his colleagues to step aside over sexual misconduct allegations.

Franken’s office, in a note to reporters, said he “will be making an announcement tomorrow.”

The notice didn’t specify what the announcement will be about or what Franken will say.

But the announcement comes as a growing number of his Democratic colleagues call on him to resign after another woman accused him of trying to forcibly kiss her in 2006.

Roughly a dozen Democratic senators have called on Franken to step aside on Wednesday. The new pressure for Franken to leave the Senate started after six female senators released statements in quick succession.

The calls for Franken to resign are a shift from even last week when Democratic senators dodged questions by noting that they wanted to wait for the Ethics Committee investigation.

According to some reports the announcement will come in Minnesota, where Franken is reportedly returning. More tomorrow, I’m sure.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    I thought he’s be done today, but apparently is going to give a statement tomorrow, on Thursday.
    It’s good to see Democrats holding themselves to a far higher standard than the Trumplicans.

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  2. Jc says:

    “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People want me to resign…” Just do it already.

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  3. george says:

    So simple accusations are now enough?

    Would it be the same if seven people claimed he’d stolen money from them? Or if seven people say they saw him selling say heroin on the street?

    I think this is going to turn out pretty interesting – even a quick glance at history shows political entities have never found it hard to find people to make unsubstantiated accusations. It’ll probably a good business to start up – you could have different prices for different kinds of accusations, say higher price for groping, lower for stealing money – and of course murder would be the highest. Some conservatives were accusing him of murder in the bridge accident, and of course lot’s of accusations of the Clinton’s making people disappear. If accusation is all its going to take to force a resignation there’s not going to be any politicians standing on any side.

    This is the 50’s McCarthyism all over again. And interestingly enough there were communists in gov’t according to files found after the USSR collapsed, but not everyone accused and forced to resign was in fact communist.

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  4. Modulo Myself says:

    Franken is right to resign, but he should not be blacklisted or anything. The Democrats have to brace themselves for the fact that their high standard (which is just the standard of normal decency, sort of like pulling over to help people in a car crash) will be used against them, and they have to figure out a way to make it work on their side. This BS with Sam Seder and the Nazi Rapists who don’t understand a joke and MSNBC caving to said Nazi Rapists is a good example.

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    Franken’s done for. He’s out for grab-ass and boorishness. Meanwhile child molester Roy Moore and all-around sex creep Donald Trump, not to mention the Ur-harasser, Clarence Thomas, go merrily along, supported by evangelical ‘Christians.’

    Half the country moves forward, half the country moves backward.

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  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Franken is right to resign, but he should not be blacklisted or anything.

    My first thought when this began was that, if he resigned, he could use his popular status and abundant wit to be a pit-bull and go after Cheeto-Dick and the rest. he could have said things politicians in office cannot. And he would have had a pulpit.
    But I think he abdicated that position when he hung on too long.

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  7. Todd says:

    I was a bit dubious about whether Franken should resign (or even consider resigning) when the initial claim by Leann Tweeden first came out. But I said at the time that if more claims that established a pattern emerged, he would probably be done. I also said that I was most interested in how his female colleagues in the Senate would respond.

    As of today, even we are generous about Franken’s intentions at the time, there has definitely been a pattern of inappropriate behavior established. The calls by some many Democratic Senators will also be too much to ignore. If Franken’s announcement tomorrow is anything other than a resignation, I’ll be amazed.

    In a court of law, we should always hold to the concept of presumed innocence. But our elected public officials must be held to a higher standard. I don’t think it would be good if we get to a point where any accusation is enough to cause a resignation. But when there’s a clear pattern, we have to remove our partisan glasses.

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  8. grumpy realist says:

    @george: If you have a sufficient number of accusations from independent people, then yes, it’s enough.

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  9. Modulo Myself says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I don’t know. If Franken was an average guy, working to support a family he should not be losing his job for some things that happened a decade ago. They need to really focus on how to move forward. The Mike Pence solution is not acceptable. Women don’t want it. Real men don’t want it.

    On the other hand there was a good article in Slate today by a woman about being asked about for a drink by her older boss and then eventually marrying and having kids with him. I swear some of the replies on twitter were by angry people asking why instead of defending his ‘unacceptable’ behavior she isn’t wondering what other women he asked out and harassed. Gee, maybe because she’s his wife and they have three kids, and she’s not totally insane?

    Losing your mind and pretending that life with men is 24/7 trauma is nonsense, and also I think (and this is something I be hesitant to say in public and put my name to) there is a degree of performative misandry going on by women, and the reasons why are not good.

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  10. Jen says:

    A pattern has been established, and with this most recent accusation, one of my initial points of concern–that most of the accusers had some connection to Republican politics and/or were people who were in photo lines that he wouldn’t likely remember–is out the window.

    All of my suspicion really was rooted in the “Roger Stone says it’s Al Franken’s time in the barrel” tweet, I found it very odd that Stone might be involved.

    But a staffer? Yep, he should go. And soon.

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  11. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    The Democrats have to brace themselves for the fact that their high standard

    One thing this Franken/Conyers thing has exposed is that there is no “high standard.” It’s low standards all around.

    It’s just that the Dems seek to be a little more consistent. They may think they will get points for consistency, which is kind of sad because…..

    They will not get points for consistency.

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  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    Yep, that’s my read, too. I don’t think the offenses rise to the level that should make retirement imperative, but we aren’t in the fine-tuning phase, we’re in the blood sport phase. Franken’s done-in by a figurative misdemeanor while felons walk free.

    Good if. . . if. . . the ‘women’s vote’ is a real thing, finally. I hope it’s a real thing. I’ve been hoping that for a couple decades now, but so far the gender gap tends to be black women, not white women. Will white women care about this at election time? Will they manage to leverage this issue? And can some potential candidate take ownership and keep this front-burner?

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  13. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t think the offenses rise to the level that should make retirement imperative

    I don’t either, but those are the breaks. I still find the timing cluster interesting–no complaints when he was moving up the ranks at SNL (in the drug-fueled ’70s, no less). None from the period in the mid-80s when he said (in his most recent book) his marriage was in trouble. It appears that most happened during 2006-2007. This time bracket is when he was already seriously considering running for the Senate seat, right up through him starting to run.

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  14. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    If Franken was an average guy, working to support a family

    If he was an average guy he wouldn’t have had the power to scare these women into being silent.
    He was famous. Or he was a Senator. Either way he held the power.

    On the other hand there was a good article in Slate today by a woman about being asked about for a drink by her older boss and then eventually marrying and having kids with him.

    We’ve all seen that happen, I think. We’ve all seen the power of being the boss abused, as well, I think. I’ve dated people from the workplace before, but not since I became management. Too little upside. If there was someone I was absolutely crazy about and couldn’t live without…I’d find another job.

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  15. Rodney dill says:

    Democrats : “we’ve upped our standards, so now up yours.”

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  16. Rodney dill says:

    Democrats : “we’ve upped our standards, so now up yours.”2

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  17. becca says:

    I smell swift boating in Franken’s case. Still do. Could be partisan bias, but I try to keep an open mind. I think Franken would confess if he were guilty. Maybe he does that tomorrow.

    Some may think me a traitor to my gender, but I would be lying if I commented otherwise. I’m also not a believer in zero tolerance and I do believe in proportionality. Mountains and mole hills, you know.

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  18. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jen:

    Nothing screams late middle-aged guy way past his dating prime more than random gropings at a state fair. I’m going to be presume that Al Franken, like a lot of men, has had some trouble growing old and less desirable. He’s not a bad-looking guy if you are into that type of man, but it’s not the type that ages well, imo. Being a young comedy writer for SNL got him action. Being a nerdy middle-aged Senator did not.

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    As I type, there’s an assistant manager at Wendy’s in Mississippi. He’s 28 and lives in a trailer, and he’s harassing a 17 year old cashier and getting away with it.

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  19. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: Exactly right! This is not about high moral standards or doing the right thing; it’s about partisan politics. The end result of all of this moral posturing is that we will have a Congress full of Republican sleazeballs to go with the sleazeball President that sleazy idiots in the hinterland elected and still approve of with 80% support.

    Franken can resign when Yertle and his Republican cronies refuse to seat Roy boy because

    We must commit to zero tolerance–which is where I believe we as a country and a Congress should be–

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/seventh-woman-alleges-al-franken-groped-her-as-calls-for-his-resignation-mount/#ixzz50W8nwLoQ

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  20. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    As I type, there’s an assistant manager at Wendy’s in Mississippi. He’s 28 and lives in a trailer, and he’s harassing a 17 year old cashier and getting away with it.

    Tragic…but a definite reality.
    Maybe he’ll run for Senator one day…and when it comes back to haunt him…he can call the girl a liar and get the President of the United States and the Republican Party to endorse him. Nah…that could never happen….

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    He could get a pass on the Tweeden accusation, as everyone should get at least one second chance, but as the accusations pile up… I’m sorry to see Franken go, even if he doesn’t resign his effectiveness as a Senator and a voice against the orange one and cohorts is finished.

    As I recall Minnesota’s process for the governor, a Dem, Mark Dayton, appoints a replacement who serves till the next general election. Given the outlook for 2018, Democrats should accept the resignation and move on. Though, cynically, I’d like him to go through the ethics probe after the Repubs have seated Roy Moore.

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  22. j/k says:

    This isn’t zero tolerance, this is six tolerance. Seven victims is one too many.

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  23. MarkedMan says:

    At first I thought Franken’s initial accuser might be a one off. I believed her, and felt like Franken was, at the very best, a jerk for the picture and an idiot for not seeing that he was creeping her out in the rehearsal. But without the floodgates opening like it did for the other guys I wondered if maybe he hadn’t made a habit of it. It took a surprisingly long time for others to follow on and several of those were completely anonymous. But they form part of a pattern. And that pattern seems… asinine and gross? It seems that in public situations he had an impulse to get handsy, but not in private situations. He doesn’t seem to have pressured women to date him or have sex with him. I don’t know. Half of me thinks “old guys never learn” but half of me thinks if someone had dope slapped him the first time it happened he would have never done it again.

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  24. Scott F. says:

    @Rodney dill:

    Sadly, it’s not going to play out that way.

    Like Darryl… I’m glad the Democrats could hold themselves to a higher standard, but it feels way too much like unilateral disarmament right now.

    The GOP is not going to follow suit and, as James Pearce notes, there is apparently no cost for hypocrisy and nothing to be gained from consistency.

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  25. Kylopod says:

    Well, let’s look back at my prediction from last week and see where we’re at:

    Here’s a prediction: One month from now, Al Franken and John Conyers will no longer be in office, but Roy Moore will be Senator and Donald Trump will still be president.

    And the usual suspects will still be saying “both sides do it.”

    Conyers has now resigned, and Franken looks on the brink of doing so. Polls in the Alabama race seem to have swung back in Moore’s direction, though it’s still very close and off-year special elections are about the hardest type of race to poll accurately. As for Trump, it seems highly likely he’ll still be president next month, Tony Schwartz’s prediction that he wouldn’t last to 2018 notwithstanding.

    We’ll see, anyway.

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  26. Kylopod says:

    I should add that I’m deeply disappointed about Franken, as I’m a long-time fan. His 1996 book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot helped launch my lifelong interest in politics when I was just in my late teens. And he’s been a fairly serious, responsible Senator, not just some bomb-thrower like some might have expected the comedian to become. I long considered him a potential dark horse for the Democratic nomination for president. Oh, well.

    (Excerpt from his 1996 book)

    By now I know some of you are thinking: “Wait a minute. [Pat] Robertson is a supporter of Israel. He can’t be anti-Semitic!”

    Let’s take this one step at a time. I have not said that Robertson was anti-Semitic. I said only that he was a lunatic who thinks that a satanic conspiracy led by Jews has threatened the world for centuries.

    Robertson is a big supporter of Israel. And if you read his interpretation of prophecy as put forth in his 1990 book The Last Millennium, you’ll learn why. According to Robertson, Israel must exist so that when Armageddon rolls around, it can get wiped off the face of the Earth. At that point, says Robertson, “the Jews will cry out to the one they have so long rejected.”

    In a way, Robertson’s words would prove prophetic. Two hours into the Road to Victory Conference, I was moaning, “Jesus! Have I got a headache!”

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  27. I’ve posted this as an update, but I’ll post it here as well.

    An eighth woman has come forward with accusations, and Franken will be holding a press conference tomorrow. Whether he resigns or not is an open question.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    So, he’s up to 0.5 Trumps — where a Trump is defined as a perfectly acceptable number of credible sexual harassment and assault allegations to continue holding office.

    What’s the big deal?

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  29. John430 says:

    Dear Al: Adios, Aloha, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu, Ciao, Zay Gezunt, Goodbye.

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  30. george says:

    @grumpy realist:

    There were a lot of blacks lynched, or in Canada first nations (Indians to most folks) thrown in jail because several people accused them of doing things – often things that they weren’t within ten miles of it. There’s a bandwagon effect to these things that maybe you have to experience to believe. That doesn’t mean accusations shouldn’t be believed, but it does mean they should be looked at critically.

    I guess I’ve seen too much of that to believe that just because someone is accused of something by several people it means its true. I suspect my suspicion is as common among blacks as it among Indians. People simply aren’t as honest about their accusations as many seem to think.

    The saying goes, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. But the reality is that its often the people who are pointing out the smoke who set the fire for their own motives.

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  31. Jen says:

    A number of Minnesota-based sources say he is resigning tomorrow.

    The 8th accuser says he grabbed her waist during a photo. I guess most politician photos from here on out will resemble police lineups–only way to be sure there is no unwanted touching.

    Women absolutely need to be believed, but contrasting this with the fact that Roy Moore will likely be a US Senator elect by this time next week lends a bit of a topsy-turvy-planet feel to all of this.

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  32. An Interested Party says:

    Dear Al: Adios, Aloha, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu, Ciao, Zay Gezunt, Goodbye.

    This was written by someone who supports Roy Moore and Donald Trump…ladies and gentlemen, we have exhibit A of the slimy hypocrisy that is today’s GOP…perhaps Franken should just say, “F@ck off! I’ll resign when the Idiot-in-Chief resigns.”

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  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jen:

    Women absolutely need to be believed

    I’ll take issue with that, which is to say that it needs to be clarified.

    Women need to be shown the dignity of having their accusations taken seriously enough to be thoroughly investigated. They should NOT expect to automatically be believed on face simply because they’ve made an accusation. As a prosecutor, I took everybody seriously, but I believed nobody simply based on their word.

    The swing to that position has resulted in a situation where false allegations are allowed to carry far too much forward before being identified as such, and the damage to the reputations of those falsely accused tend not to recover even after the allegations are proven to have been false. Worse, the penalties for making the false allegations tends to be minimal, at best, when they are indeed even pursued in the first place (which is, in itself, criminal).

    Honestly, Franken is a fool if he resigns over this.

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  34. Slugger says:

    I thought and commented that Franken should resign when the first accusation came out. As far as Roy Moore goes, I have not thought of Alabama as a thought leader in America since the days of George Wallace. I visited Alabama a year ago and was treated very well. A young minister of a small rural congregation told me that he and his people are embarrased about their history. Alabama will be fine. Alabama will come along. Might take a few seconds longer in some respects. There was a wonderful exhibit about the Tuscaloosa Airmen at the museum a few steps from the capitol.

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  35. Jen says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I totally agree but was accused of being a bad feminist recently for noting that. My background in politics makes me extraordinarily wary of creating climates that can be taken advantage of. As far as I’m concerned, that water is already being tested, both with the false Twitter allegation against Sen. Blumenthal, and the woman from Project Veritas that the WaPo exposed.

    The way you have refined this will be my go-to from now on: claims must be taken seriously, and investigated.

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  36. DrDaveT says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Honestly, Franken is a fool if he resigns over this.

    Well, unless he knows that the allegations are true, and maybe there are more yet to come.

    My guess is that Franken is a serial creep — grabbing tits and asses, stealing kisses, making lewd innuendoes — but not actually a rapist or exhibitionist or whatever the hell Roy Moore is. That’s bad enough, and he should resign in shame if it’s true — but it’s a far cry from what a Republican can be and still be defended by people who know very well what he is.

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  37. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: This is why most of the country….even people that vote for Democrats thinks they are stupid.

    Seriously, in a time where DEMOCRATS scream that T-Rump and Republicans are doing IRREPAIRABLE damage to this country….they then turn around isolate their own teammates because… indecency?!?!

    I would imagine that the rules exempting war from Ancient Israel’s prohibited list of Sabbath “work” activities were written fairly quickly in their first conflict with an enemy nation. You are not competing with a good fair opponent. This is bare knuckle fighting…not a boxing match. Franken grabbed an ass…call him a pig and keep it moving. Let Minnesotans vote him out in ’20

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  38. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @george: I was going to respond directly but I glad you called it out. A large amount of Liberal White Woman live in a fantasy land when the accusations of other white women are impeachable. Meanwhile…political operatives understand how rapids Fire accusations play in public. Funny how all this comes out after Roy Moore…isn’t it? Democratic leadership is stupid.

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  39. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: He should just that….it would go a long way to fixing the Party’s problem attracting the “dreaded” white male. Men don’t like organizations that appear to be weak. Obama gave the Party a temporary makeover….but it’s back to looking as strong as wet toilet paper again.

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  40. Matt says:

    So should we be investigating Obama too? There are multiple people out there alleging Obama was a gay prostitute that did drugs with them. Larry Sinclair. Jerome R. Corsi, Mia Marie Pope, David J Garrow and more have outed Obama for his terrible behaviour. There’s a clear pattern of Obama using drugs and prostituting himself. The Democrats should be embarrassed that they supported such a man and kept him in office!!!

    I’ve also seen several reports from people that there’s a tape of Obama making disparaging remarks about white people in general including calling them whitey!!

    Or did y’all forget about all the allegations that people were making about Obama when he ran for president?

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  41. Jen says:

    If he does resign, maybe the Governor will appoint Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar to the seat. Having a Democratic female Muslim in that seat would be a nice contrast to a Sen. Roy Moore.

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  42. becca says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I up-voted your comments. Liberal white woman here.

    So there.

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  43. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    @becca:
    You do realize that Franken admitted to mis-conduct? Right?
    I wouldn’t expect a guy that claims to be one of the great sports legends, in order to aggrandize himself, to understand morality and doing what is right, no matter the consequences.

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  44. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    A large amount of Liberal White Woman live in a fantasy land

    Jim, they’re not ready to hear this.

    But they really, really need to.

    @Jen:

    Having a Democratic female Muslim in that seat would be a nice contrast to a Sen. Roy Moore.

    I wouldn’t mind having a female Muslim Senator, but I think the next Senator from Minnesota should be merciless and tireless in fighting for the Democratic agenda.

    If that person is a female Muslim….so be it.

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  45. gVOR08 says:

    Franken is speaking. He’s going out with dignity and doing what good he can with his speech.

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  46. gVOR08 says:

    Now let’s hang Roy Moore, and Trump, around the GOPs necks.

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  47. gVOR08 says:

    It;’s reasonable to assume James O’Keefe, and dozens like him, are out cheeerfully spending Koch/Adelson/Mercer/etc. money recruiting women to make accusations against Dems.

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  48. James Pearce says:

    @gVOR08:

    Now let’s hang Roy Moore, and Trump, around the GOPs necks.

    Has that not been tried?

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  49. John430 says:

    Pure Speculation: 13 female Senators were quick to be in the vanguard of politicals demanding Franken resign. Makes one wonder about what did they know and when did they know it.

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  50. Todd says:

    @Matt: @gVOR08:

    recruiting women to make accusations against Dems

    You’d have to be a fool to expect that this isn’t going to happen. However, the awareness is probably the main reason why Franken continued to get the benefit of the doubt for as long as he did. But as some point, even if we otherwise like the person, their denials just don’t pass the smell test. Also, it’s entirely possible to believe that someone like Franken was a good Senator, and even a champion for causes important to many women, but also a bit of a creep during at least some points in his life, where he really did do things like try “cop a feel” or move in for an unwanted kiss.

    If Franken was still just a comedian, his action don’t really seem to rise to the level of some of the others who have been exposed recently, so he might have been able to hang on (and he still might be able to eventually reenter that world). But as a politician (and especially as a Democratic politician), once the pattern became to obvious to ignore (even if the timing or affiliations of some of the accusers may appear suspicious) he really does have to be done with his time in elected office.

    Note: Franken’s resignation will have NO impact on Republican’s approach to their own problems on this topic. If we’ve learned one thing about Republican’s it’s that they are absolutely shameless when it comes to ignoring their own rank hypocrisy … on this, or pretty much any other subject.

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  51. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce: Not sufficiently. Won’t make a difference to the working class white/Nixon Democrats, whatever we’re calling them this year, but might play well with educated whites, which are the gettable demographic as the GOPs go further down the rabbit hole.

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  52. James Pearce says:

    @gVOR08:

    Won’t make a difference to the working class white/Nixon Democrats

    I think you’re overestimating the number of people who can be wowed by the left’s superficial BS.

    Franken and Conyers (Democrats), Weinstein (Hollywood), Rose (PBS), Lauer (NBC), all these guys demonstrate that the left are not, and were not, the pro-women watchdogs they claim to be. Any future strategies should take into account a loss of credibility on these issues because of, not in spite of, Franken’s resignation.

    In regards to Trump/Moore, our strategy should be policy-based and that’s it.

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  53. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce: Because so many people vote on policy. \snark off\

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  54. becca says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Franken did not admit to the accusations.

    I find your ardor for his head on a plate weird and short-sighted.
    Same goes for the dems whose lead you followed.

    Idiots.

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  55. James Pearce says:

    @gVOR08:

    Because so many people vote on policy.

    The right does. You know how bad they wanted that tax cut? They wanted it so bad they were willing to elect Donald Trump president to get it.

    I’m trying to think of what the left wants that bad.

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  56. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @becca: Your screen handle is soooooo perfect for your political leanings :-)

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  57. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    You know how bad they wanted that tax cut? They wanted it so bad they were willing to elect Donald Trump president to get it.

    You give them far too much credit. They didn’t vote on tax policy. Maybe the GOP’s wealthy patrons wanted Trump elected for that, but most of his supporters had nothing more in mind than showing the brown people who’s still boss in America.

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  58. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @gVOR08: The Electorate no long factors hypocrisy in vote, no vote decisions about candidates. Last century and early 2000s maybe…but that ship has sailed. It’s useless as a line of attack in today’s political jousting. Roy Moore and Donald Trump are NOT liabilities to the GOP

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  59. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mikey: No what they DIDN’T want was the status quo which is what Hillary “Obama’s 3rd Term” Clinton represented. People in this country are frankly sick of the shareholder capitalist economy that’s been roting away blue collar and middle class families for 30 years. They’ll vote for the candidate that reeks the most populism of any brand. Even Trump’ s brand. You run a populist against a shareholder capitalist….the populist will win every time. Yes, I know…Of course Trump lies and makes empty promises. It was predictable that he’d deliver nothing. However, voters are always willing to give a candidate with no or a small record the benefit of the doubt. Find a populist…it’s the Dems only hope.

    PS By populist, I do not mean the typical Dem identity culture warrior. T-Rump had a clear economic message that prioritized work over capital. You know…what USED to be the Democratic Platform

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  60. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: Fine idea. Only the GOP doesn’t give a fork.

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  61. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: Did I mention that anybody who does give a fork is probably already about as offended by Moore and Trump as it’s possible to be?

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  62. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: Such as the good folks of the great State of Alabama?

    But keep digging that hole; it’s obviously not deep enough yet.

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  63. Mikey says:

    @Jim Brown 32: American populism is, and has always been, inextricably entwined with maintaining the superiority of whites. Hence my statement on the motivation of Trump’s base.

    That does not represent the Democrats’ only hope. In my home state, just a month ago, we elected Democrats to the top three offices in the state, and have come very close–and in fact could, depending on the outcome of a couple recounts–to flipping the House of Delegates from a Republican supermajority to Democratic control. And we did it without appealing to populism, in fact quite the opposite.

    Democrats can appeal to traditional Democratic principles without descending into the disease of populism.

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  64. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    most of his supporters had nothing more in mind than showing the brown people who’s still boss in America

    Yeah, I don’t know. Trump courted the racists like he courted Russian hackers, but it was America’s housewives that helped him flip MI and PA.

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  65. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    Trump courted the racists like he courted Russian hackers, but it was America’s housewives that helped him flip MI and PA.

    You imply a dichotomy where none exists.

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  66. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    You imply a dichotomy where none exists.

    If anything, I’m implying that some of Trump’s voters, who may be racist housewives, actually had more in mind than just white supremacy. I mean, we should at least be able to give them that.

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  67. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    You run a populist against a shareholder capitalist….the populist will win every time.

    This is the kind of superficial, dimestore analysis that gives punditry a bad name.

    Let’s put aside the fact that the candidate you identify as a “populist” is in fact a shareholder capitalist, while Hillary was the only one of the two candidates who wasn’t born fabulously wealthy.

    Any statement of the form “a candidate like Trump will beat a candidate like Hillary every time” makes no sense. When a candidate ekes out an electoral-college victory due to exceedingly narrow wins in three key states while losing the national popular vote, that hardly constitutes evidence that his victory was some kind of foregone conclusion flowing inevitably from the type of candidate he was.

    People have this tendency to read sweeping implications into elections that were practically ties, where only the most minuscule shift in the vote would have been needed to produce a different outcome. It’s the basis of so much banal post-election myth-making: you look at whichever candidate just made it past that finish line, and then you interpret every single thing that candidate did during the campaign as being part of some inevitable, inexorable path to victory, and every single thing the loser did as foretelling their doom.

    It’s illustrated by the story where someone after the 1960 election told Bobby Kennedy he was a genius, and he replied “Change 60,000 votes and I’m a bum.”

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  68. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod It makes no sense to people that like to overanalyze and consider views that conflict with their own narrow perspective as “dimestore”

    Your party has been getting its clocked cleaned for years….and here you are with the same tire conclusions you’ve had since I started browsing this board. One day you’ll be right ….a broken clock is after all.

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  69. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Your party has been getting its clocked cleaned for years….and here you are with the same tire conclusions you’ve had since I started browsing this board. One day you’ll be right ….a broken clock is after all.

    None of that addresses anything I wrote. I wasn’t offering advice on how to win elections, I was pointing out the illogic of suggesting that a candidate who came within a hair’s breadth of losing was somehow destined to win.

    But in case you are questioning my understanding of elections, I should point that I was one of the more skeptical commenters here that Clinton had the election in the bag. I’d written for years that I thought Clinton was a weak candidate and that Dems were being entirely too complacent about 2016. After Trump became the nominee (now that I admit caught me totally off guard), I repeatedly argued that he had a real (albeit uphill) path to victory. Six days before the election, over at Jonathan Bernstein’s blog, I outlined a scenario for what a Trump victory might look like that ended up being strikingly accurate:

    The HuffPost article arguing that Dems shouldn’t panic uses a fallacy that you, JB, have dealt with before, and which Nate Silver has been pushing back against for months: the notion that Dems have an “electoral college advantage.”

    This isn’t even remotely true. In fact, the situation is the opposite: Trump has a massive advantage in the electoral college…. If she wins the popular vote by a significant amount, she will almost certainly win the EC vote. But if she wins it only very narrowly, then there’s a very real possibility she’ll lose the EC…. If her popular vote lead shrinks to less than 1% or disappears entirely (or, alternately, if the polls are off and she already is in that range), then a lot of those supposedly “safe” states like Penn., Wisconsin, NH, Michigan, etc. will rapidly become a lot less safe.

    Pretty prophetic, huh? Notice that (a) I suggested that the polls might be overestimating Clinton and underestimating Trump (b) I felt that even if she maintained a narrow lead in the popular vote she was in great danger of losing the electoral vote, due to the fact that his support tended to be better distributed in the right states (c) Three of the four states I mentioned that she needed to look out for–PA, WI, and MI–ended up being the exact three Rust Belt states that put him over the top in the electoral college. (NH ended up going to Clinton by a hair.) I did underestimate just how large a discrepancy there might be between the popular and electoral results. I thought she might lose the election with a 1% popular-vote lead, but not 2%! Still, you’ve got to admit my basic analysis was pretty spot-on.

    There are plenty of things I am ignorant about, but when it comes to election analysis I know what I am talking about.

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  70. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Then you’re responding to something beyond the context of what my comments are about. You can’t make policy if you don’t win election…If your party isn’t winning elections, there is NOTHING else to talk about. The Republican spin on populism is white nationalism…what’s the Democratic version? Don’t have one??? They probably should.

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  71. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32: In 2011 I was talking to a right-wing troll who argued that it didn’t matter who won the Republican nomination, Obama was toast and would lose to any of those candidates. I asked him why he thought Obama was toast, and he said it was proven by the disastrous 2010 midterms, which represented a backlash against the big-government policies of the Obama Administration. I asked him what evidence he had that those things were responsible for the midterm results. He responded, without any apparent trace of irony, “The evidence that Bailouts, Porkulus, Cap & Tax and ObamaCare brought on the historic 2010 blowout is the historic blowout itself.”

    I hope I don’t have to explain the fallacy in that remark. But the fact is that I’m always hearing elements of that fallacy after practically every election. Everyone wants to use the election results as proof of their pet theories they wish to advance. After Romney’s defeat in 2012, the narrative that quickly emerged in both the RNC and the media was that the Republicans needed to do a better job of reaching out to Hispanic voters by embracing comprehensive immigration reform. Trump did the exact opposite and won. Does that prove the advice was foolish? To a degree, yes–at least it proved that immigration reform and Hispanic outreach weren’t necessary in order for Republicans to win the next presidential election. But it really doesn’t tell us anything about the viability of Trumpism in the long term. And now the narrative has shifted in the opposite direction–the idea that Trump understood the mood of the electorate better than his Republican rivals did, a conclusion that rests on an unprovable assumption: namely that all his GOP rivals would have lost to Hillary Clinton, that Trump’s victory can only be explained in terms of his Trumpiness and not, say, that he was a Republican running in a year that was favorable to Republicans.

    The fundamentals always favored Trump. By “fundamentals,” I am using the term from political science for the set of factors that favor a particular party in a particular election regardless of who the candidates are. Most poli-sci projections suggested 2016 was either a toss-up or lean-Republican year, due simply to the fact that Dems had held the White House for two straight terms and economic growth had been slowing down since 2015. Alan Abramowitz’s model pointed to a Republican victory in 2016, but he predicted that his model would fail that year because Trump was the GOP nominee. Obviously he overestimated the impact of Trump’s deficiencies (and underestimated the impact of Hillary’s), but it just goes to show that Trump benefited from the R after his name, and that his victory can’t necessarily be taken as proof that it was anything in particular about him that made his win more likely.

    If Hillary had been running against Trump in 2008, when the economy was in freefall, we were in the middle of two hapless wars, and the sitting Republican president was at record unpopularity, it’s highly doubtful the “populist” would have won. The identity of the candidates matters a lot less than you are suggesting.

    In answer to what Democrats can do to start winning again, you won’t hear me falling back on some simplistic formula like “A populist will beat a shareholder capitalist every time.” Why should I? I already pointed out the illogic in your statement–which you have yet to rebut–but believe me, I’m not going to offer some pat answer as an alternative. I don’t have to. We can certainly debate in a relative sense what strategies are better or worse for Democrats and what candidates they ought to be seeking, but when push comes to shove it’s possible none of that will matter. If in 2020 the economy is booming and Trump hasn’t started WWIII, then he’ll probably beat anyone the Dems put forward. But if we’re in the middle of a recession and a massive foreign policy f-up on his watch, he’d probably lose to anyone, even Hillary Clinton herself around for a reprise (not that I’m recommending we test that theory).

    My best advice to anyone is: don’t get too addicted to your “theories” about electoral dominance. There’s a long history of people over-interpreting election results, and in the end the things we think are most important very often turn out to be irrelevant.

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  72. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: In other words, your best advice amounts to: “hey, let’s admire the problem and hope for an environment situation that we can capitalize on.” That’s fine on the internet. In the real world, somebody has to select a candidate and put forth a game plan to find. The combination of local and state elections lost by Democrats and only 2 Democratic Presidencies since 1980 means there is a fundamental flaw that “wait and see” will not fix. A simple answer is not analogous to a wrong answer. To paraphrase Einstein: answers should be a simple as possible but no simpler. Both Bill Clinton and Obama had a populist message and managed to tween it just enough to keep enough white men/women on the train white minorities to fashion a winning voting block. We can debate the policy pursuits they had vs their campaign messages and we’d probably come to the conclusion that they didn’t govern as populist.

    I said before that one can craft a “populist” platform that is congruent with any any political ideology. Why you any others conflate populist with white nationalism is your own self limitation and lack of imagination. Hell….Bernie Sanders gave you a 60% solution. It’s need some different shoes, hat, belt, and a different style shirt and its ready for the runway. This isn’t hard.

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  73. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    In other words, your best advice amounts to: “hey, let’s admire the problem and hope for an environment situation that we can capitalize on.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “admiring the problem,” but the poli-sci perspective I’ve been describing isn’t as fatalistic as you are implying. As I alluded to earlier, many presidential elections have been near-ties: 2016, 2004, 2000, 1976, 1968, 1960. Since very little had to change to produce a different outcome, a good case can be made that candidate quality made all the difference. (Of course that doesn’t mean the winner is always a great candidate. In 1976, President Ford was unpopular enough that Carter ought to have won by a lot more than his narrow victory. He actually came out of the convention with a 30-point lead, which he then went on to squander. Like Trump, Carter was someone who won very much in spite of his qualities as a candidate.) Moreover, it often isn’t easy to tell what the fundamentals say until very late in an election cycle. In 2008, while it was generally recognized from the start that Dems were strong favorites in the presidential election due to Bush’s unpopularity, the financial crash didn’t happen till the fall. Had it struck a few months later, Dems probably would still have won–but the race would have been a lot more competitive.

    So even though the unsexy truth is that elections often come down to factors beyond the individual candidate’s control, there’s no downside to candidates doing what they can to win, because it can make a difference even though it doesn’t always do so. The problem with the candidate-centered view of elections comes after the elections are over, when people invariably blame the losing candidate for everything that went wrong and credit the winning candidate with everything that went right, and this typically leads to false narratives, such as the one that emerged after 1992 that the Dems were only able to win by embracing DLC-style centrism–a conclusion greatly appealing to the Beltway media, who refused to consider the possibility that Dems won simply because the environment was favorable to them in 1992, and that a traditional liberal like Mario Cuomo or Ted Kennedy would probably have also beaten Bush that year. The Beltway narrative greatly influenced the future direction of the party even if it wasn’t actually the reason Clinton won.

    To paraphrase Einstein: answers should be a simple as possible but no simpler.

    It’s the “no simpler” qualification that’s key here. Your theory doesn’t fit the facts, when the type of candidate you claim “will win every time” got in fact fewer votes than his opponent.

    Both Bill Clinton and Obama had a populist message

    Very debatable. A while back I read Michael Kazin’s book The Populist Persuasion, which offers a a history of American populism up to the present day, and one of the things that becomes clear is that the term has been overused to the point of almost meaningless vagueness. At the turn of the 20th century, Populism was the official name of a movement and a political party, and its most prominent leader, William Jennings Bryan, went on to lose elections three times to candidates representing the plutocrat class. FDR was a lot more successful running on populist themes (despite being a blue-blood himself), but by the late 20th century, “populist” was just a label the media assigned liberally to politicians of various stripes. At the time Obama was running, Paul Krugman complained that he was not populist enough–and that was before Obama’s “bitter-cling” gaffe that helped foster an impression of him as an out-of-touch cosmopolitan elite. He did use a “people vs. the powerful” narrative during the campaign, but so have most other candidates in modern times, including losing ones like Al Gore and John Kerry. If either of them had won (and keep in mind there’s a good case that Gore actually did win but was robbed of it by a halted recount–and that’s without even getting into his popular-vote lead), I’m sure you’d be saying it was because of their populism, and if Obama had lost, you’d be honing in on “bitter-cling” as evidence why. That’s one of my biggest problems with your theory: like most electoral theories centering on candidate styles, it’s a version of the sharpshooter’s fallacy where you reason backwards from election outcomes and select facts that fit the theory while ignoring facts that don’t. The populist always wins, and you know that because you make sure to define anyone who happens to win as a populist. (Note that I am not accusing you of being intentionally deceptive; the arguments you are using are very seductive, which is why they are so widespread.)

    I agree that, other things being equal, a candidate who appears to speak for the “common folk” is better off than one who seems to represent corporate, big-business interests, and Hillary was obviously hurt by the perception that she fell in the latter category while Trump fell in the former category–whatever the reality may be. What I am objecting to is the way you put this in absolute terms (“every time”). Elections are not binary affairs, they are influenced by a variety of factors, and the fact that this election was so close and that Hillary actually received more votes overall strongly indicates that what you call “populism” isn’t some all-purpose formula that guarantees victory.

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