According to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Republicans have a rich history of "sexual predation."
In his Monday column at the Times, Krugman questioned why it took Republican nominee Donald Trump and his latest scandal to cause many top Republicans to defect from their nominee, when, according to Krugman, there were dozens of reasons before to not support the billionaire businessman.
"One excuse we’re now hearing is that the new revelations are qualitatively different — that disrespect for women is one thing, but boasting about sexual assault brings it to another level," Krugman wrote. "It’s a weak defense, since Mr. Trump has in effect been promising violence against minorities all along."
The answer to that question, Krugman said, is because the "latest scandal upset Republicans, when previous scandals didn’t, because the candidate’s campaign was already in free fall."
That answer, Krugman wrote, raises another question: whether or not sexual abuse is a "partisan phenomenon."
According to Krugman, who cited only three examples of sexual abuse in the Republican Party in his column, it is. He writes:
Take, for example, what we now know about what was happening politically in 2006, a year that Nate Cohn, The Times’s polling expert, suggests offers some lessons for this year. As Mr. Cohn points out, as late as September of that year it looked as if Republicans might retain control of Congress despite public revulsion at the Bush administration. But then came the Foley scandal: A member of Congress, Representative Mark Foley, had been sending sexually explicit messages to pages, and his party had failed to take any action despite warnings. As Mr. Cohn points out, the scandal seems to have broken the dam, and led to a Democratic wave.
But think about how much bigger that wave might have been if voters had known what we know now: that Dennis Hastert, who had been speaker of the House since 1999, himself had a long history of molesting teenage boys.
The answer to why the problem is merely one of Republicans can be found in the structure of the GOP, Krugman contended.
"The G.O.P. is, or was until this election, a monolithic, hierarchical institution, in which powerful men could cover up their sins much better than they could in the far looser Democratic coalition," he wrote.
"We’re talking about a party that has long exploited white backlash to mobilize working-class voters, while enacting policies that actually hurt those voters but benefit the wealthy. Anyone participating in that scam — which is what it is — has to have the sense that politics is a sphere in which you can get away with a lot if you have the right connections," Krugman added. "So in a way it’s not surprising if a disproportionate number of major players feel empowered to abuse their position."
If Trump loses the general election in November, Krugman believes many Republicans will try to distance themselves from the New York mogul as someone who doesn't represent the Republican party. But according to Krugman, Trump is a fitting figurehead for the GOP.
"He won the nomination fair and square, chosen by voters who had a pretty good idea of who he was. He had solid establishment support until very late in the game," Krugman wrote. "And his vices are, dare we say, very much in line with his party’s recent tradition.
"Mr. Trump, in other words, isn’t so much an anomaly as he is a pure distillation of his party’s modern essence," the columnist concluded.