Politics & Policy

Conservatives, Don’t Dismiss the Sexual Misconduct Claims Against Roy Moore

Roy Moore in Montgomery, Ala., in September. (Reuters photo: Marvin Gentry)
The allegations against the Republican Senate candidate are deeply troubling.

Today the Washington Post dropped a bombshell. A woman has come forward to claim that decades ago Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was only 14 years old. He was 32 at the time, a prosecutor in Etowah County, Ala.

The details are horrifying. According to his accuser, Leigh Corfman, Moore took her back to his house, stripped off most of her clothes, touched her sexually, and tried to force her to touch him. Three other women have also come forward, alleging that Moore tried to date them or kiss them when they were teenagers ranging from 16 to 18 years old.

Moore is vigorously denying the accusations, claiming they’re “fake news” and a “desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post.”

Conservatives, be careful. Don’t dismiss the claims. While I don’t know if the allegations are true, I’m deeply troubled on a number of grounds.

First, these women didn’t seek out the press. According to the Post report, its reporters reached out to them after hearing that “Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls.” So far as we know, they weren’t put forward by the opposing campaign, and the woman who made the most serious allegations against Moore says that she voted for Trump in 2016. None of the women have donated to Moore’s primary or general-election opponent.

Second, if you read the report, it includes validation from a number of witnesses who say that they were aware of the relationships at the time. While this isn’t proof of guilt of course, it bolsters the credibility of the accusers.

Third, the youngest accuser’s explanation for her decision not to come forward earlier rings tragically true. She told the Post that “she did not share her story about Moore partly because of the trouble in her life. She has had three divorces and financial problems.” It’s a sad and terrible truth that childhood abuse can have catastrophic effects on young lives — effects that last for years.

She told reporters, “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.” This is so very often the case. An ambitious abuser sails on, accumulating fame and fortune. In the meantime, his victims are left shattered, picking up the pieces as the power imbalance only grows and grows. One person spirals downward. The other person climbs upward.

We are in the midst of a unique and important national moment. Each day seems to bring a new story of yet another powerful person facing a string of accusations. While there is a danger of a witch hunt, the presence of multiple claims of misconduct from multiple sources should always make us pause — regardless of whether the alleged abuser comes from the Left or the Right. It’s a moral imperative that we not determine the veracity of the allegations by the ideology of the accused.

Roy Moore is a dangerous man who never should have received the GOP nomination. Republican primary voters selected as their champion a person who seeks to suppress the civil rights of his fellow citizens and defies the law whenever it suits his ideological and political purposes. Even before today’s allegations, he was unfit to be a United States senator. Now the question is whether he’s dangerous, unfit, and vile.

The Alabama GOP options for replacing him on the ballot are limited, at best. It’s time to consider a write-in challenge, and if he wins the election, the Senate should consider expelling him from the body. He does not belong in American government.


EDITORIAL | Roy Moore Should Drop Out

Saving Roy Moore Isn’t Worth It

Brietbart Steps on a Landmine in Roy Moore Piece

Most Popular

White House

The Trivialization of Impeachment

We have a serious governance problem. Our system is based on separation of powers, because liberty depends on preventing any component of the state from accumulating too much authority -- that’s how tyrants are born. For the system to work, the components have to be able to check each other: The federal and ... Read More

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More

‘Texodus’ Bodes Badly for Republicans

‘I am a classically trained engineer," says Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, "and I firmly believe in regression to the mean." Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today's politics is problematic. In any case, Hurd, 42, is not waiting for the regression of our politics from the ... Read More

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More