Is it About Sexual Harassment or About Getting a “Vote?”

Joel Fox

Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily


Could Senator Tony Mendoza’s situation lead to California’s Roy Moore moment when politics and the need for legislative votes overshadow the moral concerns dealing with sexual harassment? Let’s hope not.

Should Mendoza follow former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra’s example and resign the Democrats lose their supermajority in the Senate.

A number of Republicans back Moore for the U.S. Senate in Alabama despite the charges made against him because, as President Donald Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway says, the administration wants the vote for Trumps’ agenda. Will some Democrats insist that Mendoza remain in office as a way to keep the supermajority?

Mendoza denies the harassment accusations against him and seeks due process. When Bocanegra resigned he complained that the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ was blown away by a “hurricane of political opportunism.” Mendoza intends to embrace his right of due process, hold to his claim of innocence, and resist any pressure to resign. However, if circumstances change and Mendoza chooses to resign the supermajority is lost. A Democrat almost certainly would replace him once a special election is completed but by then that pesky recall against Senator Josh Newman could keep the Democratic party numbers in the senate below the two-thirds supermajority.

The situation could result in mischief from both sides of the political aisle.

The two-thirds vote supermajority in the legislature is an important standard under state law. Remember, the two-thirds vote is required to raise taxes, place measures on the statewide ballot, enact laws immediately on an urgency basis and override a governor’s veto.

Powerful political stuff.

Calls for Mendoza to resign, especially when those calls come from Republicans–and one Republican senator has already made that call, might be characterized by Mendoza’s defenders as a political move, similar to how Moore frames the charges against him in Alabama.

One would hope the moral question involved in the sexual harassment issue would snuff out any political considerations whether in the U.S. Senate or the California senate.

Steps must be taken to end sexual harassment. But beware political moves that affect “the vote” don’t overtake the moral issue at hand.

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