Turmoil: CA Democrats' Sexual Harassment Problem Cost Them Their Supermajority, Could Impact 2018 Midterms

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 26, 2017 12:00 PM
Turmoil: CA Democrats' Sexual Harassment Problem Cost Them Their Supermajority, Could Impact 2018 Midterms

The sexual harassment reckoning has exposed many men in positions of power for their bad behavior. Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin and others have either been fired or suspended for sexual misconduct. In the political realm, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is resigning in early January after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) made his way to the exit after his sexual harassment allegations made it into the limelight; he paid $27,000 to settle a claim in 2015. And yes, that’s our money he used for that expenditure. This reached a boiling point during the Roy Moore fiasco in Alabama, where the Republican senate candidate was accused of sexually molesting and assaulting multiple women when they were teenagers. Yet, Conyers and Franken blunted the attacks on Moore and the GOP.  The left flank on the Democratic attack line was vulnerable with Conyers and Franken still in the mix. Once Conyers decided to exit, the dam broke for Franken, who grudgingly decided to leave the Senate, though he did so while refusing to apologize for his actions and called his accusers liars.

Yet, in deep blue California, the progressive mecca of the country, Democrats behaving badly has thrown the state party into turmoil . It’s already cost them their supermajority in the state legislature and it could impact the 2018 plans as well.

On top of those worries, we now have Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) reportedly showing "zero interest" by reports that his congressional offices had become hostile environments. In the state Assembly proper, Matt Dababneh has decided to exit by January 1 after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment, one of which included a 2016 incident at a wedding, where the assemblyman began masturbating in front of one of his accusers. He isn’t the first to leave over allegations of sexual misconduct; Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra has already resigned. State Sen. Tony Mendoza remains in office, but he also faces accusations from multiple women. He has since been stripped of his leadership posts. In light of this behavior, Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, Christine, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, took a notably different approach than her mother, who called Conyers an "icon,  saying that that California Capitol has rapists and molesters walking among them. Ms. Pelosi has called for more action to address this problem (via Politico):

Scandal-induced resignations will cost California’s Democratic Party its supermajority in the state Legislature at least temporarily next year, and the fallout is spilling into the 2018 elections. It’s scrambling calculations for some of the state’s most powerful politicians in Sacramento, and even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was caught in the fray when she defended now former-Rep. John Conyers last month as an “icon.”

“We’re in unchartered territory here,” said Garry South, a veteran Democratic strategist who advised former California Gov. Gray Davis. “This whole issue has hit a critical mass in a very short time. I’ve never seen anything like it before — and I don’t know where it ends.”

[…]

Among those who have been outspoken in their demands for more action is Christine Pelosi, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus and Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, who told lawmakers at the start of an Assembly hearing last month, “We have rapists in this building. We have molesters among us.”

[…]

… Los Angeles-area Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman has been caught in the glare of the Dababneh headlines. A report from McClatchy published last week featured eight former aides saying that the environment in Sherman's D.C. and California offices was “toxic” – and that the congressman was oblivious to the problem. “’Congressman Sherman showed zero interest in the personal well-being of his staffers and there's no reason to believe he would have cared or taken any action if a complaint was made,' said one former staffer,’’ McClatchy reported. Sherman insisted his staff never complained about his former aide’s sexual behavior.

[…]

And outside of the California Legislature, radio executive and University of California trustee Norman Pattiz, who was first appointed by Davis and reappointed by Brown, has come under pressure to resign after tape surfaced of him asking comedian Heather McDonald if he could hold her breasts. In a separate incident last week, Craig Cheslog, a California Democratic Party regional director from the Bay Area, resigned amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

Cheslog said in his resignation letter that he was confident of the outcome of a “fair, fact-based exploration of this matter” but that he wanted to “prevent any allegations of personal misconduct against me from creating a distraction within the party at a critical moment in national and state politics.”

Of course, this problem crosses party lines. That is not in dispute. The Left can’t argue War on Women anymore—they have some of the biggest creeps in the country voting and supporting Democrats. What is telling is the reaction. It took nearly a month before Democrats decided to put significant pressure on Franken and Conyers to leave in order to have a clean slate to launch attacks on Republicans. For other Democrats, it’s become clear that the ‘I’m a liberal who votes the right way’ is no longer a lifeboat, as it was for Bill Clinton who has been credibly accused of rape. It was that 90s moment when we saw explicitly that feminism was for and only accepted liberals into their ranks, and that they would anything to ensure those faithful officeholders remained in power, even if they did allegedly committed rape. Gloria Steinem can hold her head up high. Democrats enabled this behavior. So, this come to Jesus moment were seeing from the Left regarding sexual harassment should be taken with a grain of salt. The GOP should clean house of its creepers as well, but the media will always find a way to make this a Republican, or a conservative problem (it’s not), as they always have. The hypocrisy is going to become unbearable when the Left comes after President Trump over his sexual misconduct allegations and act holier than thou, as if to disregard the fact that Democrats voted for a credibly accused rapist for president—twice. Yet, that's a battle for another time. For now, the sexual harassment problem ensnaring the California Democratic Party continues to ripple throughout the state.