Democrats are setting themselves up perfectly to pummel Republicans on sexual harassment in 2018

  • After Democrats successfully pressured Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers to leave office amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the GOP is facing growing pressure to apply the same scrutiny to its own members. 
  • Political operatives and commentators argue that Democrats have seized the "moral high ground" on issues relating to sexual misconduct, and that spells trouble for the GOP.


After Democrats successfully pressured Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers, both powerful Democratic lawmakers, to leave office amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the GOP is facing growing pressure to apply the same scrutiny to its own members. 

The calls for Franken to resign began shortly after a seventh female accuser came forward on Wednesday morning, alleging the former comedian attempted to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Female Democratic lawmakers led the charge calling on Franken to step down, releasing a barrage of statements and emphasizing the need for "zero tolerance" on sexual misconduct. 

"Enough is enough," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a longtime advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. 

Conyers, who alleged sexually harassed and assaulted former employees, bowed to pressure to retire on Tuesday

84 PHOTOS
High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
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High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing dozens of women, including a number of well-known celebrities, over the past several decades.

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

Matt Lauer was fired from 'Today' after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly included giving a co-worker a sex toy and dropping his pants in front of a female employee in his office.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual assault by two women from the Amazon series, "Transparent."  

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Eleven women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Al Franken is accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Director Woody Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. She says she experienced inappropriate behavior by her adoptive father on several occasions.

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Hundreds of women accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment.

(TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of forcing women to watch him masturbate, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Director Bret Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when he was 14 years old.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News Channel, was accused of sexually harassing former anchor Gretchen Carlson and several other women from the network.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Several women accused TV host Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd phone calls.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby has faced sexual assault allegations from about 60 women, including several women who claim he drugged them.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Four women, including several that were also fellow Scientologists, have accused actor Danny Masterson of sexual assault, according to HuffPost.

 (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Mark Schwahn, the former "One Tree Hill" showrunner, was accused of sexual harassment by a large number of the show's cast and crew.

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Actor Casey Affleck settled lawsuits out of court wth two women who accused him of sexual harassment.  

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Film Independent)

Bill O'Reilly has reportedly made numerous settlements with women who accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting a teenage girl.

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Veteran journalist Mark Halperin has been accused of sexually harassing women while he worked at ABC News.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Singer R. Kelly is accused of holding women against their will in houses in Illinois and Georgia in a reported 'sex cult.'

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Former Fox Host Eric Bolling was accused of sending unsolicited lewd text messages to female colleagues.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Director Roman Polanski fled the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Several other women have also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Chef John Besh stepped down from the company he founded after female employees reported facing sexual harassment there. 

(Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Photographer Terry Richardson was labeled the 'Harvey Weinstein of Fashion' by the Sunday Times amid widespread accusations of sexual harassment by models.

(Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)

Singer Kesha accused Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke of drugging and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Former champion boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in 1992. 

(REUTERS/Michael Clevenger/POOL)

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of his former patients and athletes.

(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Music mogul L.A. Reid left his position as Epic Records CEO/Chairman in 2017 amid harassment claims by a female assistant.

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress' allegation of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Chris Savino (right), creator of  'The Loud House' was suspended by Nickelodeon after being accused of making unwanted advances toward multiple women.

(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)

Actor Steven Seagal was accused of sexual misconduct by Inside Edition's chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images,)

Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director of National Public Radio, was accused of inappropriate conduct with two women in 1990s.

(REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad)

Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a production assistant when he was 48 and she was a high school senior.

(REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

Jeremy Piven was accused by actress Ariane Bellamar of groping her on two separate occasions. Piven 'unequivocally' denied the allegations.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Ben Affleck apologized for acting 'inappropriately' towards Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003.

(REUTER/Dylan Martinez

Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman he went on a date with.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Andy Dick was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on set, including groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions.

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, (D) Nevada, was accused of making repeated, unwanted propositions for dates and sex to a woman that once worked on his campaign.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Actor Ed Westwick was accused by actress Kristina Cohen of raping her in his home.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

David Guillod, producer of 'Atomic Blonde,' is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several woman.

(Photo by Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)

Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for "Supergirl," was suspended in November 2017 amid numerous sexual harassment allegations by members of his staff.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Actor Tom Sizemore was reportedly told to leave a film set in 2003 after an 11-year-old actress told her mother that he had touched her genitals.

(REUTERS/Phil McCarten)

Steve Jurvetson left his own venture capital firm after allegations of sexual harassment

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

A former model accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him 36 years ago.

(Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)

Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulted her at an award ceremony in 2013.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

A former writer for 'Mad Men' said the show's creator Matthew Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Ron Jeremy has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and the allegations span more than 30 years.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Multiple women accused producer Adam Fields of touching them inappropriately and sexually propositioning them.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was accused of crossing the line with employees, including unwanted hugs.

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Singer Nick Carter was accused of rape by a former member of the all-girl teen band Dream, Melissa Schuman.

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

A singer accused billionaire Richard Branson of sexual assault during an event as his Necker Island in the Caribbean. Branson says he has no recollection of the matter.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Talent agent Adam Venit is accused of grabbing actor Terry Crews' genitals.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez), Marilyn Manson former longtime bassist, was accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams.

(Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media's editorial director was fired after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Haute Magazine)

Producer Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, has also been accused of sexual harassment. 

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Jesse Lacey of  the band, Brand New, was accused of sexual misconduct, including soliciting nude photos from a teen girl in the past.

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

Senior Correspondent for E! News Ken Baker California was accused of sexual harassment by two women.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

American film director Oliver Stone was accused of groping model and actress Carrie Stevens in the 1990s.

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Reporter Glenn Thrush was suspended by the New York Times after several women accused him of acting inappropriately when they were young journalists.

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Veteran radio host Garrison Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio following claim of improper behavior.

(Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)

CNN producer Teddy Davis was fired after multiple accusations of harassment.

(Photo via Twitter)

Producer Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies following sexual assault and harassment accusations from two women.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Longtime conductor James Levine was suspended by New York's Metropolitan Opera after sexual abuse claims.

(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)

Dylan Howard, editor in chief of the National Enquirer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees, including forcing them to watch porn and openly discussing his sexual partners.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"X-Men" director Bryan Singer was accused of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in a lawsuit filed in December.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Harold Ford, Jr.

(Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chef Mario Batali has been accused by multiple women of "inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades."

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's show was suspended amid misconduct allegations made against him.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was fired from his job as an ESPN contributor amid accusations of sexual harassment by a wardrobe stylist at the network.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Klein (D-New York), was accused of forcibly kissing a former female staffer back in 2015. 

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

Ross Levinsohn, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher, has reportedly been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and would rate the "hotness" of his female colleagues, according to a report by NPR.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman accused magician David Copperfield of drugging, sexually assaulting her when she was teen model in the 80s, according to The Wrap.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

James Franco was accused by several women of sexually inappropriate behavior. He was also criticized for wearing a "Time's Up" pin to the Golden Globes hours before the accusations against him surfaced.

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Barry Lubin, also known as Grandma the clown, resigned from Big Apple Circus after admitting to pressuring a 16-year-old girl into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats head football coach Rich Rodriguez was fired amid troubling off-field allegations. His former administrative assistant says Rodriguez inappropriately grabbed and touched her. 

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by pro-Trump singer Joy Villa. She claims he hit her on the buttocks during an event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of peple. The Wall Street Journal the casino mogul regularly pressured employees to perform sex acts.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Music exec and 'The Four' judge Charlie Walk was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. Life Lab founder Tristan Coopersmith penned an open letter about Walk in January claiming he sent her lewd comment and cornered her in the bedroom he shared with his wife.

(Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Vh1 Save The Music)

Several women filed sexual harassment complaints against Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, according to the Washington Post.

(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Actor Scott Baio, was accused of molesting is former 'Charles in Charge' co-star Nicole Eggert when she was a minor.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

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As Democrats roll out their new zero-tolerance position on sexual misconduct, the party is positioning itself to attack the GOP's record of protecting alleged sexual predators, chief among them embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, in their ranks. 

Democrats seize the moral high ground

Political strategists and commentators say the Democrats' relatively swift dismissal of Franken is a politically strategic and well-timed move, given the Tuesday special election in Alabama. 

As the former Republican governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, said on Fox News on Tuesday"As long as Al Franken is in the Senate, as long as you've got Conyers and others who are staying in office, then why not have Roy Moore?"

Democrats have stripped the GOP of its ability to point fingers at the Democrats in defending politicians like Moore, President Donald Trump, and Rep. Blake Fahrenthold, a Texas Republican who paid $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint brought by a female staffer. And the unified move took some Republicans by surprise. 

"I really thought he was going to be able to survive," Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist and president of the Potomac Strategy Group, told Business Insider.

John Stoehr, a progressive journalist, wrote in a Newsweek column on Wednesday that "amid this climate of sexual misconduct and accountability, the party is signaling to every woman out there that the Democrats are for them."

"We got rid of our sexual predators, they are saying, while the Republicans sent theirs to the Senate," he wrote.

Conservatives argue the move was at least partially motivated by politics. 

28 PHOTOS
Al Franken through the years
See Gallery
Al Franken through the years
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 1: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on the nomination of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, on Capitol Hill, February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions was approved by the committee in an 11 to 9 vote. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Bumble Bee Al Franken (Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 3 -- Pictured: Al Franken during 'The Franken and Davis Show' skit on October 21, 1978 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
NEW YORK CITY - JUNE 19: Al Franken attends City Fair Benefit for Cystic Fibrosis on June 19, 1983 at Bloomingdale's in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Backstage with Al Franken at the Shadow Convention. (Photo by Rebecca D'Angelo/Sygma via Getty Images)
Actor Al Franken relaxing at Kaufman Astoria Studios. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Al Franken attends the New York Friars Club Roast September 28, 2002 in New York City. The black-tie annual event was held in honor of Chevy Chase at the New York Hilton. (Photo by Graham Morrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: Al Franken's new book 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right' is seen August 21, 2003 in New York City. Fox News is suing the Franken and publisher Penguin arguing that the book's use of the phrase 'Fair and Balanced' is a trademark infringement. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JULY 28: Political humorist Al Franken does a television interview on the floor of the FleetCenter on the third day of the Democratic National Convention July 28, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. Under heavy security, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is expected to accept his party's nomination later in the week. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Al Franken of the Air America Network reporting on the floor of the Republican National Convention during the second night at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)
Al Franken at Earth to America! which airs on TBS Sunday, November 20 at 8 p.m. 10423MC_16017.JPG (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage for Temp Account)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 25: Comedian and talk show host Al Franken was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the Human Rights Campaign's Gala Dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel on March 25, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor and comedian Al Franken waves flag May 9, 2006, prior to his lecture at the 92nd Street Y in New York, NY. (Photo by Tim Boxer/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN -OCTOBER 21: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken wave to the crowd at a rally October 21, 2008 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Clinton told the crowd of more than 2,000 that Franken needs to win in order secure the 60 Senate seats needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. (Photo by Cory Ryan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 21: Minnesota Democratic senate hopeful Al Franken is shown at a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on January 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Franken and his opponent, incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who held a slender lead following the election, are currently locked in a legal battle over a recount that put Franken ahead by 225 votes out of 2.9 million cast. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 07: US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) (R) hugs a friend during a swearing in reenactment ceremony on Capitol Hill July 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. Last month a Minnesota court ruled that Al Franken won the Minnesota senate seat beating out Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Sotomayor, now an appeals court judge and US President Barack Obama?s first Supreme Court nominee, will become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, listens to testimony on medical debt and bankruptcy before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 20, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Minnesota Senator Al Franken works on his laptop in Washington DC. (Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images)
Democratic US Senator for Minnesota Al Franken in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 23: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens to testimony from Melodee Hanes, acting administrator of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at a Senate Judiciary Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee hearing on Protecting Our Children: The Importance of Training Child Protection Professionals.' (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 4: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks at a news conference to discuss the Affordable Care Act case being heard at the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Today the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell that could determine the fate of health care subsidies for as many as eight million people. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JULY 8: Senator Al Franken during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Going Dark and data encryption in Washington, USA on JULY 8, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: United States Senator Al Franken attends the 2016 Writers Guild Awards New York ceremony at The Edison Ballroom on February 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 07: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is interviewed by Roll Call in his Capitol hideaway about his upcoming Jeopardy appearance, April, 07, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 9: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks to reporters at a news conference dubbed #WeThePeople outside the Capitol on June 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats unveiled a new legislative proposal that will reform campaign finances and ensure fairer elections. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
US Senator Al Franken gestures during Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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"I hate to be crass, but it seems to me that the Democrats probably did some polling in the last 10 days and found that their reluctance to call out bad behavior on their own side of the aisle was going to hurt them in the midterms," Mackowiak said.

Mackowiak said that the blowback House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi received following her initial reluctance to hold Conyers accountable signaled to the party that it needed to crack down on alleged misconduct in order to retain the confidence of its base. Pressuring Franken to resign allowed the party to "salvage some credibility on the issue," he said.

"I think that Democrats feel like the electoral circumstance is trending in the right direction for them and the difficulty they were having providing clear answers about members of their own party who have behaved badly, I think was confusing that or perhaps even threatening that," Mackowiak said.

Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative commentator who has called on Moore to withdraw his candidacy, tweeted on Wednesday"Democrats are going to dump Franken now in order to seize the moral high ground on Moore," and added that Democrats can both "be playing a cynical game with Franken resignation in order to use Moore as a club against GOP" and making the ethically correct decision at the same time. 

But Democrats are adamant that the move wasn't political, or easy. Female Democratic senators and aides told Politico on Wednesday that lawmakers had informally agreed in recent days to call on Franken to resign if another credible allegation against him emerged. 

"It really wasn't coordinated," Sen. Debbie Stabenow said. "I think it was a reaction to the latest announcement in the paper and you know, it's very difficult. It's a real tragedy."

Pelosi said on Thursday that she hopes "all people" will follow the Democrats' lead in enforcing zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. 

"We were pleased with the way we expeditiously dealt with our issue," Pelosi told Business Insider. "I don't see it as a political issue though. I see it as a community — I hope that all people will come together on."

Steve Schale, a top Democratic strategist based in Florida, was also reluctant to politicize the decision.  

"Doing the right thing shouldn't always been good or bad politics," Schale told Business Insider.

Mackowiak said he'd also like to see Republicans abide by that same standard. 

'There's no winning with Roy Moore'

While the Republican National Committee reversed its stance on Moore in recent days, deciding to support him again, many top Republicans are escalating their opposition to Moore and to the party's protection of alleged abusers. 

Breaking with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has dodged questions about Farenthold, Rep. Steve Stivers, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, suggested on Thursday that Farenthold should reconsider running for office again.

14 PHOTOS
Women who have accused Roy Moore of sexual assault
See Gallery
Women who have accused Roy Moore of sexual assault
Beverly Nelson (L) shows a school year book with attorney Gloria Allread during a news conference announcing new allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican congressional candidate Roy Moore, in New York, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Gloria Deason
Wendy Miller
Gloria Deason
Wendy Miller
Gloria Deason
Accuser Beverly Young Nelson, reacts while reading a statement claiming that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore sexually harassed her when she was 16, in New York, U.S., November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Attorney Gloria Allred stands with accuser Beverly Young Nelson, holding a sketch of herself made when she was 16 after reading a statement claiming that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore sexually harassed her when she was 16, in New York, U.S., November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Beverly Nelson (L) reacts as she reads a statement to reporters with attorney Gloria Allred during a news conference announcing new allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican congressional candidate Roy Moore, in New York, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Beverly Young Nelson (L) speaks to the media with her lawyer Gloria Allred, at a news conference where she has accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually abusing her when she was 16 on November 13, 2017 in New York City. Moore, a controversial politician who recently won a run-off against Luther Strange for Alabama's Senate seat, is currently fighting accusations alleging that he pursued sexual relationships with teenagers -- including a 14-year-old -- when he was in his 30s. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
MEGYN KELLY TODAY -- Pictured: Tina Johnson and Megyn Kelly on Friday, November 17, 2017 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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"I think the filing deadline hasn't happened in Texas and Blake Farenthold has some thinking to do about whether he wants to run for reelection or not," Stivers told Business Insider, adding that the GOP needs to "push folks where there's serious allegations or proven allegations aside."

"We have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior and we’ve made that clear," Stivers said.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers and leaders are deeply divided over the party's endorsement of Moore. 

Sen. Lindsay Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told Business Insider that the party's support for Moore is short-sighted. 

"I don't support his candidacy. I don’t like the RNC doing it, but that's their decision to make," he told Business Insider on Wednesday. "If you think Roy Moore wins and is a plus for Republicans, you're naive because he'll be on the ballot in every race in 2018, whether you want him to be or not. There's no winning in my view with Roy Moore."

Mackowiak predicted that if Moore is elected to the Senate in Alabama's special election next Tuesday, he'll be prevented from serving on committees until a Senate ethics investigation into his past conduct is complete. 

"I don't think Roy Moore's problems are over by any stretch," he said, adding that the controversy around Moore, who has been accused of pursuing sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, should concern Republicans. 

But some doubt the heightened scrutiny of sexual misconduct will have any significant implications for Moore or the president, who has been accused by at least a dozen women of sexual harassment or assault.

"Republicans are better generally at getting to a place where the outcome, i.e. winning, is more important than other things ... nobody circles the wagons like the GOP," Schale said. "Whether or not Trump is reelected or not in 2020 is going to be based on whether we make the case that he's failed as president."

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SEE ALSO: There's an avalanche of Democrats calling on Al Franken to resign amid sexual-misconduct allegations

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