A flood of allegations following the recent shock of the Harvey Weinstein scandal on sexual misconduct has further shaken the public. Amidst the turmoil, US Senate candidate Roy Moore has also been accused as a perpetrator, calling the validity of his Alabama campaign into question. With five women accusing Moore of teenage sexual assault, an open discussion to denounce and expel the nominee has been rife across the Republican Party. Though Moore has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, the allegations have swept the candidate into a political crossfire of controversy regarding his eligibility to serve the position.
“What I noticed for all these scandals involving sexual assault was that the signs were always there,” said Minyoung Huh (10), a proponent of feminism. “Yet people are so quick to deny the words of its victims, and similar patterns of shaming them for talking about their experiences are prevalent within the society. This goes the same in the Moore case, but I also feel that the views are changing a little after the Weinstein scandal—where the victims are not being treated with doubt right away—and whether this transition is permanent or not, I believe it is a positive change.”
According to the New York Times, should Moore win the election, the debate over whether or not he should be allowed to keep his seat could potentially continue on for months. This would mean a delay in the Republicans’ legislative agenda, which includes priorities such as taxes, health care, and regulatory reform, resulting in a missed opportunity for a productive Congress. Republicans also fear that it could have grave implications for the 2018 elections, with the opposing constituents branding them as the party of child sexual abuse. If Congress votes to expel Moore after his election, the expulsion will not only set a major precedent for other candidates, but also mark an unusual beginning for the Senate. Though the Constitution authorizes the expulsion of a member with a two-thirds vote, only 15 senators have been expelled since 1789.
“The odds of Moore winning the election are very slim,” said Cristy Youn (10), a member of the unofficial feminism club. “Not only does this scandal involve an alleged pedophile running as a nominee, but if he wins, the situation presents the worst case scenario for the Senate Republicans. His election will taint the party, possibly extending its effect to the 2018 election, as well as hindering the Congress even further.”
Taking all the facts into consideration, the controversies on Moore’s campaign currently leave the Dec. 12 election with two options: one, for the Republican Party to revoke his nomination, and two, for the Congress to launch a write-in candidacy. However, a number of experts have speculated upon the implausibility of an annulment; withdrawing the nomination would bring huge impacts to members of the party who backed Moore, as well as opening up a rift within the Alabama Republican Party. Meanwhile, a write-in candidacy would remove Moore’s name in the ballot, but still allow voters to write it in as a vote. Regardless of whichever route the party decides to take, Moore’s scandal-racked campaign remains to cast uncertainty across the upcoming Senate election.
“With the scandal having occurred at this point of time, I think it will heavily affect the outcomes of the election,” said Jinkyu Han (10), a US history student. “In addition to changing the public image of Roy Moore, his campaign reflects the political turbulence that the allegations entail, which pose numerous issues for both before and after the election.”