December 11, 2017

UC Dems Condemn College Republicans for Staying Silent on Roy Moore

The University of Chicago Democrats called on the University of Chicago College Republicans on November 9 to join us in denouncing Roy Moore, and over a month later, we have yet to receive a response from the organization. Moore, the Republican candidate for the U.S. special Senate election in Alabama this week, has been rightfully condemned by leaders on both sides of the aisle for his allegedly prolific history of sexual abusing minors. Still, UChicago’s College Republicans, despite their typically feverish obsession with free speech, have remained silent on Moore’s candidacy, alongside many of their party compatriots at the state and national level. 

Meanwhile, we, the University of Chicago Democrats, stand by what we said then: “Sexual assault is not a partisan issue, and we need to come together and speak out against such heinous offenders.” 

In their response to this summer’s terrorist attack in Charlottesville, when a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, College Republicans issued the following statement: “Hate and violent suppression of speech have no place in the United States of America, and we as an organization remain committed to making our campus, and our country safe for all people to speak freely and openly.” In the spirit of speaking out against hate and injustice, in the spirit of expunging hate from the United States, we again ask the University of Chicago College Republicans to denounce Roy Moore. 

Former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama, is an appalling candidate even before one considers his status as a child predator. In 2006, Moore wrote a piece on why Minnesota representative Keith Ellison (D), the first Muslim elected to the Congress, should not be seated due to his faith. If Islamophobia isn’t enough, how about anti-Semitism? Moore was recently asked about George Soros, a prominent Democratic donor and notorious boogeyman for Republicans; in his response, Moore claims that Soros, who is Jewish, “comes from some other world” and suggests that Soros is destined for hell. The Moore campaign has claimed that these comments were “anti-George Soros” rather than anti-Semitic, but Moore’s longtime history of religious bigotry should speak for itself. 

As for a resume, Moore has been elected to and subsequently removed from the Alabama Supreme Court twice: first, for refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building, and second, for refusing to acknowledge the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.  

And then, there’s the whole child predator thing. Even though Moore has not been convicted of statutory rape in a court of law, the accounts of his pattern of predatory behavior are well-corroborated. The amount of allegations against Moore, in addition to his disgusting and demonstrably false claims that his accusers are merely malicious women with whom he has never had contact, make unequivocal condemnation of his conduct a moral imperative for American citizens and the Republican Party. 

National Republicans had begun to swing (slowly) against Moore’s candidacy, until the leader of the Republican Party, President Donald Trump, gave Moore his full-throated endorsement. Now, the Republican National Committee, which had previously pulled its funding from the Moore campaign in light of his past actions (as a child predator) is now back and spending in the race. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who at first did not “rule out expulsion” is now saying that there is “no option”: If elected, Moore would be sworn in as a U.S. Senator. 

Some Republicans, notably former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and current Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), are still united against Moore. Even in Alabama, some activists and elected officials have deserted Moore. The statewide Young Republicans chapter voted to “suspend support” for Moore. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), who has been reelected every six years since 1987, has said that he “will not be voting for Moore.” Given this opposition from Republican leaders across the nation, denouncing Moore’s candidacy should hardly be a difficult task for a campus group far away from Alabama.  

That being said, our College Republicans might argue that they have no need to weigh in on the Senate election, given that Chicago is hundreds of miles away from Birmingham; they do have a long history of refusing to wade into prominent elections, after all. Still, this election—beyond its clear national significance in its potential to alter the makeup of the closely divided Senate—has relevance even to us in Chicago.  

Moore, for instance, has some thoughts on Illinois. Specifically, during an interview with Vox, he claimed that “there are communities under Sharia law right now in our country. Up in Illinois. Christian communities; I don’t know if they may be Muslim communities.” Perhaps needless to clarify, there are no communities under Sharia law in Illinois; this was confirmed by the Illinois Attorney General’s office. But Moore’s obviously thinking about us, so we should think a bit about him. 

Additionally, it was recently revealed that Richard Uihlein, a prominent conservative donor and Rauner surrogate from Lake Forest, Illinois, donated $100,000 to the pro-Moore group Proven Conservatives PAC. 

Uihlein is a power player in Illinois and in national politics, having donated millions to dozens and dozens of Republican candidates nationwide, from Karen Handel to Ted Cruz all the way up to Donald Trump. However, one contribution hits close to home: $10,500 to the Cook County Republican Party, an organization to which the University of Chicago College Republicans is intimately tied. We ask the University of Chicago College Republicans to join with us in asking the Cook County Republican Party to return the donation of Richard Uihlein, a person so willing to put partisanship above country that he would donate $100,000 to a child predator. And we again ask them to take a stand on a serial sexual assaulter and condemn the candidacy of their fellow Republican Roy Moore. 

Ridgley Knapp, University of Chicago Democrats Secretary 

Victoria Koffsky, co-Communications Director 

Andy Hatem, co-Communications Director 

Mikala Cohen, Outreach Director 

Anaïs Rosenblatt, President 

Madeleine Johnson, Board Member 

Ryan Thornton, Executive Director 

Sam Joyce, Political Director 

Celia Hoffman, First-Year Board Member