This week, advice columnist E. Jean Carroll came forward to allege that Donald Trump raped her in the mid-nineties. While investigations into decades-old allegations like these often produce little to no evidence affirming either party’s account, an investigation should nevertheless ensue. What else should ensue is a national focus on Trump’s dozen-plus accusers who need to be listened to, and who deserve some form of justice. Amazingly enough, they might have a shot at this and a chance to do some real damage to Trump. But first, a story about a different asshole.
This week, contender for worst statesman of the decade Roy Moore announced that he would again run for Senate in Alabama during the 2020 election. You might recall that Moore lost the last time he ran, to a Democrat no less, almost exclusively because a harrowing number of women came forward accusing Moore of statutory rape, indeed so many that “Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations” is its own Wikipedia page. Trump had been warning Moore to not run again due to his toxicity and astounding ability to lose a Republican seat in one of the most red states in modern America, and now Mitch McConnell is taking it a step further. McConnell’s actual words were “We’ll be opposing Roy Moore vigorously.”
This situation proves that it is actually possible in this hyper-partisan, needlessly tribal climate for a Republican to become an untouchable. Trump’s scoreboard with Republicans is, at best, mixed. He’s recently irritated senate Republicans with the arms sales debacle with Saudi Arabia, and against the wishes of most Republicans in the senate, he’s practically asking Iran to give him an excuse to go to war with them. Make no mistake, McConnell is getting a lot out of Trump; perhaps Trump is even looking away from the very personal Chao-McConnell scandal. But regardless of any of this, McConnell isn’t wed to Trump.
This brings me back to my first point. Looking at Moore’s example, if Trump became too toxic, McConnell and the rest of the Republican senators would be inclined to dump him (i.e. amenable to impeachment). This of course is incumbent on Trump becoming a clearly losing bet in 2020.
Donald Trump’s sexual assault accusers have been almost entirely ignored since the 2016 election started. They’ve been railroaded by Trump, and by the conservative media more broadly. Their stories always deserved to be heard, and now in a post-Kavanaugh, more developed “me too” era, I believe there is a momentum that should allow them their long-overdue chance. E. Jean Carroll’s lurid account is truly sickening, and it’s the sort of horrifying thing the public at large needs to know about, not just news junkies like us. Every one of Trump’s accusers needs this chance, and if this modicum of justice brings about a Republican revolt against Trump, then all the better.