Al Franken’s resignation is one thing for the Democrats: part of a strategy. They will pretend to lament, but they realize they’re not really losing anything they hadn’t already lost when the allegations were first made. He will be replaced by another liberal Democrat, one who doesn’t have the baggage Franken has accumulated.
Behind closed doors, they’re celebrating. This is a great PR move for them because it allows them to hold the moral high ground. Now they can go after President Trump, Roy Moore if he wins, and all the Republicans who supported either or both of them. They’ll point to Franken and John Conyers and say, “we police our own, but the Republicans do not.”
In other words, they’ll try to ride the wave of sexual misconduct all the way to majorities in the House and Senate in 2018.
Republicans will be cheering today now that Franken has resigned. They shouldn’t. This is bad news for them. As Franken noted in his resignation speech, the Republicans have a guy in the Oval Office who has been caught on tape saying things very crudely against women. It wasn’t enough to keep him out of office, but with the current environment of sexual misconduct accusations taking down powerful men, Democrats are now positioned to build a strong midterm election narrative.
If Moore wins, they’ll attach him to Trump. Whether Moore wins or loses, the Democrats will attach Trump to every Republican running for office in 2018. They won’t focus on policy or political maneuvers. The new agenda is to make this emotional. As many political strategists know all too well, emotion trumps policy when it comes to votes.
As Trump’s popularity rises, it will be difficult for Republicans running for office to abandon him. They can’t afford to lose his base, but they may not be able to afford the damage Democrats can do by invoking him with Independents. It’s a catch-22 for the Republican Party and Al Franken’s resignation made midterm elections seem even more bleak for them.