Concerns about Roy Moore’s character were the driving force behind these defections. In November, The Washington Post reported on accusations that Moore had pursued teenage girls when he was a 30-something assistant district attorney in Gadsden, Ala., during the 1970s and ’80s. Moore wavered between denying the accusations and saying he had the permission of the mothers of any teenage girls he dated. Several other similar accusations surfaced, and two of the accusers said Moore sexually assaulted them when they were teens. (Moore strongly denied the assault accusations.)
Moore’s loss is one more indication that the wave of assault accusations reshaping Hollywood and the national media is now changing what’s acceptable behavior among politicians of both parties as well.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned because of allegations of sexual misconduct; Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., resigned for the same reason; and now Republican Roy Moore has lost in one of the reddest states in the union. The days when a Ted Kennedy could get away with Chappaquiddick and “waitress sandwich” and regularly win reelection, or when a Bill Clinton could deflect credible accusations of sexual assault and win, seem to be over—at least for now.
“This was not a loss on policy,” former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told CNN on election night. “This was a loss on character.”