Sexual assault now playing colossal role in presidential election

The topic of sexual assault is currently playing an outsized role in the U.S. presidential election, surprising both political analysts and voters after the Washington Post reported on the now infamous Donald Trump Access Hollywood hot mic recording.

After the fallout, many Republicans who had previously endorsed Trump rescinded their support, or blasted the businessman for his remarks including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has since refused to campaign for the GOP nominee. The upheaval led Trump to declare that “the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”

That fight has included a number of “scorched earth” tactics, one being the sexual assault allegations made against Bill Clinton by several women. The Trump campaign has seized upon the allegations as a way to weaken the Clinton campaign. On the day of the second presidential debate, Oct. 9, Trump initiated his new strategy:

“Trump, facing a GOP exodus from his campaign and apparently desperate to change the subject, just retweeted two tweets from an account featuring the name of Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who publicly alleged in 1999 that Clinton had sexually assaulted her two decades prior,” the Washington Post reported. “Clinton has long denied the accusation.”

Trump is not the only one to help renew the allegations. Alex Jones, a conservative radio show host and noted conspiracy theorist, has been offering money for anyone who declares Bill Clinton a rapist on television. A number of protestors have taken him up on that offer.

“Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook responded on Monday to an increasing number of protesters who have appeared at rallies chanting ‘Bill Clinton is a rapist’ and wearing shirts claiming the same,” wrote Allan Smith of Business Insider.

“Mook told reporters on a conference call that the protests are ‘part of the Trump campaign’s scorched earth policy,'” Smith continued.

“‘They’re trying to make excuses and taper over his lack of real plans,'” (Mook) said, calling the rhetoric ‘disrespectful’ and ‘divisive.'”

Bill Clinton has denied the allegations, and they have never been proven. Regardless, Trump has taken the topic of sexual assault and turned it into a problem for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. If the last couple of weeks are any indication, viewers can expect to see the issue brought up Wednesday at the final debate in Las Vegas.

 

[CNN] [Washington Post] [Business Insider] [Image courtesy Justin Sullivan/Getty Images via the Daily Mail]