News & Politics

Democrats Still Have a Bill Clinton Problem

The Democratic Party is finally having a reckoning with its hypocritical behavior toward women.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The 42rd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, has been accused of unwanted sexual advances during the 1990s. This isn’t a partisan point, it’s a fact. The standing allegations against Clinton mirror those against President Donald Trump. 

The former president has also been accused of rape, by Juanita Broadderick, who accused Clinton of raping her in 1978 while he was attorney general of Arkansas. She has been publicly making this allegation since the 1990s. Initially, Broadderick denied she had been raped, but later, during an interview with Dateline NBC, she changed her story and claimed Clinton had raped her. She provided a detail about Clinton biting her lip, a gesture that Elizabeth Ward Gracen, a former Miss America who claims to have had a consensual relationship with Clinton, also mentioned in her description of their encounter.

Paula Jones sued Clinton for sexual harassment she alleges occurred in 1991. She says Clinton exposed himself to her and also propositioned her. After her case was dismissed, and she appealed, Clinton paid Jones an out-of-court settlement of $850,000. 

Kathleen Willey claims Clinton groped her breasts, kissed her and forced her to touch his crotch in 1993 while she was a volunteer with the White House correspondence office.

Clinton’s most recent accuser is Leslie Millwee, a former TV reporter who came forward in 2016 to say Clinton had assaulted her in 1980. “He came in behind me. Started hunching me to the point that he had an orgasm. He's trying to touch my breasts. And I'm just sitting there very stiffly, just waiting for him to leave me alone,” she said. “And I'm asking him the whole time, 'Please do not do this. Do not touch me. Do not hunch me. I do not want this.'"

Stacey Parker Aab describes a hostile environment toward women in the Clinton White House. She claims Clinton hugged her in a sexually charged way while making unprofessional remarks, and she says his aide, Vernon Jordan, went so far as to kiss her on the lips.

Bill Clinton has denied the allegations of forced sexual interactions in the past, but has never disproven any of them. His credibility is compromised by the fact that he lied under oath about his sexual conduct while president.

The Democratic Party is undergoing a long-overdue reckoning with the hypocrisy in its behavior toward women. From Sen. Al Franken’s call for an investigation into his own behavior to the resignation of the Florida Democratic Party chair to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand publicly stating that Clinton should have resigned the presidency, the party is making concrete steps toward becoming a serious force against the misogyny of the GOP.

But as long as the Democratic Party continues to associate itself with Bill Clinton, it remains stained by the same misogyny that infects Republicans.

The era of Clinton is over. He doesn’t need to appear at Democratic functions, stump for Democratic candidates or act as a Democratic standard-bearer. The next time we hear from Clinton, he should be offering a mea culpa.

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Chris Sosa is the former Senior Editor of AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.