Most Democrats are now demanding that Sen. Bob Menendez resign after his indictment. The various statements by Senate Democrats (and Sen. Mitt Romney) twist the language in such a way as to suggest that the question of Menendez’s guilt or innocence is secondary to whether he can be “effective”.
Sen. Menendez has said that he’s not resigning and the best argument on his side is that he already survived one federal trial on bribery and fraud charges. Despite a high-profile federal trial, Sen. Menendez easily won his primary 62% to 37% and then won the general election by 54% to 42%.
If there’s one Senate member who can credibly argue that he will survive this, it’s Menendez. (Doesn’t mean that he will this time, just that he is one of the few Senate members who can claim to have pulled it off.)
Back then, the Democrats didn’t pull out, but stuck with him. This time around they’re pulling out especially since Tammy, the wife of New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy, is now toying with taking a Senate seat.
But does it matter? Sen. Menendez doesn’t have all that much to lose here except a potential primary.
The larger issue is the rush to demand that politicians resign after an indictment. Sometimes there’s a preponderance of evidence that the politician is a scumbag above and beyond the charges. But there is a reason that we have the concept of ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Indictments are not convictions.
One of the distinctive elements of cancel culture is the demand that people resign based on outrage. But resignations first, convictions second is not the American way of doing things.
The voters chose to back Sen. Bob Menendez despite his trial. They will have their chance to decide his fate again in 2024.