I recognize that as someone who favors the Democratic party, I may not be looking at this objectively. But there are a series of recent events that have lead me to the conclusion that, until recently, both parties routinely swept incidents and accusations of mistreatment of women under the rug, or justified/excused them. But the Democratic party has shown actual signs of progress on this over the last year or so, and the Republican party hasn’t. The latest incident that reinforced this conclusion is the willingness of the White House to ignore senior aide Rob Porter’s history of domestic abuse until there was photographic evidence from his ex-wives: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/white-house-knew-porter-abuse-allegations
Evidence for my conclusion (off the top of my head – others can chime in with more):
Many Democrats have been willing to criticize the party’s past acceptance/excuses for multiple allegations against Bill Clinton. I’ve seen no such similar mea culpa from Republicans for, say, Clarence Thomas or other prominent Republicans that faced past credible allegations of mistreatment of women.
The differing responses to Al Franken and Roy Moore. Even though many prominent national Republicans criticized Moore, the state party embraced him, with no sanctions from the national party organization. The national party organization re-entered the race on Moore’s behalf late in the race after pulling out earlier. I think the Democratic pressure on Al Franken was slower than I would have liked, but it was still the correct move.
More differing responses to individuals like John Conyers vs Blake Farenthold. Conyers was pressured to resign and did. Farenthold didn’t get nearly so much pressure, and didn’t resign, merely stating he wouldn’t run again. Democrats have made it clear that multiple credible allegations of mistreatment of women means one isn’t morally qualified to hold high office; Republicans have not.
The above Rob Porter incident – prominent Republicans like Orrin Hatch and John Kelly were praising Porter through yesterday, even as he resigned.
The continuing acceptance and near-adoration of Trump by Republican national leaders in public statements. Ryan and McConnell and others have almost uniformly backtracked from their criticism about Trump bragging about assaulting women, violating their consent, and other allegations.
This last one would come with a huge short-term cost, unlike any of the Democratic incidents. If someone with similar allegations against them had been elected President for the Democrats in 2016, the party might retreat to justifying/ignoring/excusing as they did in the 90s, since the cost for doing the right thing could be so high. And this change is, at best, only the very beginning of what needs to be a very long process. But even if we take away anything related Trump, it’s clear to me that the parties are differing in their responses to credible allegations of mistreatment of women in a very significant way, as evidenced by all these other incidents and responses. Whether it’s for political or moral reasons doesn’t matter, in the long run, IMO – tons of social progress and advancements for mistreated folks have come from political pressure and calculation rather than sincere moral change. But this change is needed, and it’s happening with one party, and I think it inevitably will happen in the other party too, once it becomes clear that society will no longer put up with prominent abusers in power.
I doubt very many of my fellow liberal posters will disagree with my conclusions, though I welcome their input. I’d encourage Republican-supporting Dopers to seriously consider the possibility that their party is on the wrong side of this issue – I think this is very similar to advancements on Civil Rights in the 60s in a lot of ways. And just as so many Americans were on the wrong side of Civil Rights (according to polling in the 60s, most white Americans had significant disagreement with MLK Jr and the Civil Rights movement, at least at the beginning), I think a huge group is going to find themselves on the wrong side in this moment, even though most of those probably changed their views over time.
Politicians are going to act politically, and usually resist change until they feel it’s advantageous, but changing for the better is still good and the right thing to do. It’s very sad that the Republican party is behind on this issue, and even sadder that so many Americans don’t have a serious problem with this.