As the #MeToo movement branches out from the entertainment industry, state and federal lawmakers accused of sexual harassment are being held accountable — and it’s not just Republicans.
Among the lawmakers around the country leaving their positions over sexual harassment allegations during the past year, about 40 percent are Democrats, according to a list compiled by The Associated Press. The list includes elected officials from both parties representing state legislatures, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:
Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Calif.), Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Minn.), Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Calif.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Sen. Clifford Hite (R-Ohio), Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Okla.), Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Fla.), Sen. Mark Manendo (D-Nev.), Sen. Bryce Marlatt (R-Okla.), Rep. John Moore (R-Miss.), Sen. Dan Schoen (D-Minn.), Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Okla.), Rep. Dean Westlake (D-Alaska), Rep. Mathew Wollmann (R- S.D.) and Rep. Mark Lovell (R-Tenn.).
Rep. Brandon Hixon (R-Idaho), who was under investigation for possible sexual abuse, died in an apparent suicide. Rep. Dan Johnson (R-Ky.) committed suicide just days after being publicly accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2013.
Both Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) said they will not seek re-election.
The lawmakers, regardless of party, should be called out for their actions. However, it’s important to note that the #MeToo movement is also about women empowerment, which is not a priority for President Donald Trump’s administration. The leader of the GOP, Trump, who has been accused of sexually harassing at least 19 women, advocates for male dominance.
More than a dozen women have accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances against them.
The president, who has paved the way for the most male-dominated federal government in nearly a quarter century, is at the helm of a party that stands in contradiction of its “traditional values” platform and shuns women leadership and women’s rights. For example, Trump and the Republican National Committee endorsed Senate candidate Roy Moore, a man credibly accused of sexual deviancy. GOP lawmakers who advocated for Trump’s boys club — there are only four women in his cabinet — have been well represented in the amount of resignations.
According to a recent analysis by political action committee American Bridge 21st Century released in September, 80 percent of nominations for top jobs in the Trump administration that require Senate approval have gone to men. And, less than 20 percent of his judicial nominations are female.
“Without a significant shift, men will outnumber women four-to-one in top positions of the Trump administration,” according to The Guardian.
Women are starting to leave the Republican party as a result of Trumpism.
“The situation, unsurprisingly, has many Republicans stressed out — even depressed,” according to The Atlantic. “This is especially true among the women strategists, activists and other leaders who’ve been laboring to address their party’s gender gap … the overheated, culture-warring nature of Trumpism has disrupted some of the most common avenues Republicans had been using to reach women.
“The GOP’s relationship with women is ‘always challenging,’ admitted former Representative Mary Bono,” The Atlantic wrote. “While the Democratic Party ‘takes women for granted,’ said Bono, her party ‘doesn’t understand them.’”
A Pew Research Center study found that since 2015, 23 percent of Republican voters ages 18-29 have switched parties compared to just 9 percent of Democratic voters in the same age range. As many as half of Republicans 30 and under have abandoned the party at one point or another during that time.
“Without an extreme intervention, female leaders in the party must recognize that the direction it’s headed under Trump is not one that advances women,” writes Mindy Finn in an op-ed for The Hill.