The Left Continues to Destroy Itself and Others With Evidence-Free Destruction of Reputations
Equating accusations with proven fact is reckless and repressive. It is also standard behavior in liberal politics, whereby they ruin lives without a second thought.
The leading progressive Democratic candidate in New York City’s mayoral race, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, has had his chances for victory along with his reputation utterly destroyed over the last week. That happened due to allegations from a political consultant, Jean Kim, that Stringer groped her eighteen years ago, in 2003.
Despite no evidence presented that any of this happened, and despite this being the only assault accusation ever voiced about Stringer during his decades in public life, and despite Kim never having once claimed any of this even when she was working for a rival candidate who was ultimately defeated in 2013 by Stringer, and despite the sudden emergence of this accusation as Stringer’s mayoral campaign was surging, and despite evidence showing that Kim was highly misleading in several of her statements, and despite Stringer’s claims that Kim had been his girlfriend for several months accompanied by vehement denials of wrongdoing, numerous leftist groups and politicians who had endorsed him repudiated his candidacy within days of the emergence of this allegation, issuing statements which treat Kim’s claims as proven truth and depict Stringer as a vile sexual predator.
That is because, as has been seen repeatedly, the prevailing mentality in left-liberal politics is that even grave life-destroying accusations are to be treated as true without the need for any evidence. They casually and with apparent glee ruin people’s reputations and lives without batting an eye the second someone utters an allegation of sexual misconduct. And one is required to mindlessly accept such accusations as truth — never ask for evidence if it is true — if one wishes to remain in good standing in those circles and to avoid being smeared oneself as an apologist for sexual misconduct.
To understand what is being done to Stringer, look at the identical smear campaign that Democrats launched in Massachusetts in August, 2020. Congressman Richie Neal (D-MA) is a walking embodiment of everything sleazy and slimy in U.S. politics. First elected to the House back when Ronald Reagan was still President, the Massachusetts Democrat, 72, is now in his 16th House term, and occupies the all-powerful position of Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which controls legislation governing revenue, taxes, social programs, and tariffs.
Neal's entire career has been funded by large corporations, insurance companies and banks, and that is who he dutifully serves. He has used his immense power to block virtually every piece of legislation that his corporatist funders oppose but which left-wing populists favor. If you're on the left, and you actually think the political goals you claim are important, there would be few priorities more pressing than removing Congressman Neal from power.
In 2020, the left was presented with precisely that opportunity. Over the past sixteen years, Neal has had no credible challengers in his Democrat-heavy district. But last year, 31-year-old Alex Morse — a dynamic and gay five-term Mayor of Holyoke — announced he would challenge Neal in the Democratic primary. Progressive groups lined up behind Morse with endorsements and donations, and polls began showing him closing in on Neal. This appeared to be one of the best opportunities in years to remove one of the sleaziest corporatists from power.
But then the left sabotaged it. The College Democrats of Massachusetts released a perfectly timed letter accusing Morse of predatory behavior: namely, that he had sought sex with and dated young adults, and had consensual sex with several of them, including students at Amherst where he taught a class as an outside lecturer (such relationships are not banned by university guidelines). When launching these accusations, the College Democrats group also dramatically announced that they had banned Morse from attending any of their events, as if he were some sort of menace. There were no "victims” claiming he had coerced let alone assaulted anyone. But no matter.
Even as Morse denied wrongdoing, the same leftist groups and politicians which had endorsed him — The Sunrise Movement, The Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, Rep. Jaamal Bowman (D-NY) — quickly condemned him and renounced their support, said they were “pausing” their support, or demanded he “make meaningful efforts to repair any harm he’s caused.” They had no need for any investigation let alone evidence: they were willing to endorse a narrative — based on decades of bigoted stereotypes — that a gay man was a sexual predator of young males, even if doing so meant returning Richie Neal back to his perch as Committee Chairman. The local Sunrise Movement group repudiated Morse in a statement that disgustingly proclaimed that “we believe all survivors” and “rape culture runs deep in our society”: rape culture and survivors, for sex between consenting adults.
Industry groups that long supporting Neal began plastering the airwaves with ads condemning Morse as a sexual predator who was exploiting his relationship with young men. And anyone who stood up to defend Morse and demand evidence of wrongdoing was vilified by the left as either an apologist for sexual predators or themselves likely some kind of pedophile. Those are the tactics the left uses to prevent anyone from demanding basic evidentiary support for accusations before they are used to wreck the lives of their targets. As Matt Taibbi observed in defense of Morse, much of this was just an extension of the now-standard left-liberal culture that casts adults as victims based on the flimsiest of claims:
This terror of a world separated into victimizers and victims has already ruined journalism, where a new class of reporters is so locked into the idea that every second of airtime or line of an editorial is an exercise of power that they’ve begun demanding the removal of alternative political viewpoints from their publications — other ideas make them feel literally unsafe.
The flamboyant insistence of these leftist groups that their causes (such as saving the climate) are global emergencies is a fraud, since — based on the vaguest, most dubious and most trivial allegations — they were willing to re-empower one of the worst corporatist obstacles to their supposedly urgent progressive goals. As The New York Times put it: “within hours after the story broke, Mr. Morse went from role model to pariah. Progressive groups said they would stop campaigning for him.”
As it turned out, reporters Daniel Boguslaw and Ryan Grim, working with others at The Intercept, uncovered conclusive evidence proving that the allegations against Morse were the by-product of a coordinated smear campaign engineered by state Democratic Party officials and opportunistic College Democrats hoping for a job with Neal. One of the conniving little ringleaders even purposely lured Morse into online discussions about dating by pretending to pursue him so that they could then weaponize those chats against him. One member of the College Democrats warned the group that they would be exploiting an age-old trope about gay men as predators, but they did not care. Destroying Morse was their only goal.
Once Grim and Boguslaw revealed the truth, the College Democrats ended up apologizing to Morse. The State Party launched an investigation to determine who was to blame for this filthy smear campaign, and — with Neal safely re-elected — they issued a report admitting the State Democratic Party Chairman broke party rules with his involvement.
But it was just pure luck that, this time, the evidence emerged proving that Morse was the victim, not the perpetrator. Had it not been for a brave student disturbed by what was being done, Morse’s life would have been ruined, forever plagued by false accusations of being a sex pest. Once that truth was reported, these leftist groups — which had not bothered to wait for evidence before trying to destroy Morse’s reputation — re-endorsed him, but by then it was too late. The damage was done. As The New York Times noted, “Political careers usually don’t survive allegations like these.” Neal cruised to victory by double digits, leading The New York Times to pose this question in its headline about Morse’s vindication:
The answer, as it turns out, is a resounding no. It changed nothing. The left is yet again repeating its malicious destruction of a person’s reputation — again, one of their own — based on nothing other than evidence-free, highly opportunistic accusations.
New York City Democrats are currently holding their primary election to select their candidate to run for Mayor. Given how blue the city is, it is highly likely the primary winner will become Mayor. For months, polls have shown two center-left candidates anathema to the city's progressives — former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President and police captain Eric Adams — in the lead. The only progressive candidate with any viable chance to win is Stringer, the former Manhattan Borough President and current City Comptroller. He has placed a strong third in most polls behind Yang and Adams, and has been closing in on Adams.
The recognition that Stringer is the only left-wing candidate with a viable chance to beat the two centrists has resulted in a pile of recent endorsements from many of the same progressive groups and politicians who hopped on board the Morse train, including the Sunrise Movement, the Working Families Party and Rep. Bowman. The latest poll shows Stringer in third place, the only candidate other than front-runners Yang and Adams with double digits. All other candidates — including the other two progressive candidates: Maya Wiley and Dianne Morales — are well behind, bunched together in single digits.
But Stringer’s candidacy suffered a likely fatal blow last week when a woman named Jean Kim — who Stringer says was a former girlfriend — claimed that eighteen years ago, in 2003, the candidate “repeatedly groped me [and] put his hands on my thighs and between my legs” without her consent. Just as was true with Alex Morse, this accusation suddenly materialized, said The New York Times, right “as he had appeared to catch momentum….In a number of recent polls, Mr. Stringer had appeared to be virtually tied or just behind Mr. Adams.”
Kim never once, over the last eighteen years since this assault allegedly happened, voiced these accusations publicly — even as Stringer ran for numerous high political offices, winning many elections. In a press conference alongside his wife of eleven years, Elyse Buxbaum, Stringer vehemently denied the allegations, explaining that he had dated Kim for several months many years ago and remained friendly with her until 2013, when she became angry with him when he refused her request for a job in his successful citywide campaign for City Comptroller, and so instead went to work for his opponent, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.
There is zero evidence to support Kim’s accusations against Stringer. No other woman has accused him of similar behavior either before or since. And Kim said nothing even when, after having her job request rejected by Stringer, she went to work for Stringer’s main opponent in the 2013 Democratic primary for Comptroller, where such allegations obviously would have helped Spitzer avoid his ultimate defeat to Stringer.
By contrast, there is evidence to affirmatively create at least rational doubt about whether any of this happened. When Kim first came forward, she claimed she was Stringer’s “intern,” to create the perception that Stringer had exploited a young, deeply vulnerable woman the way Bill Clinton did in the Oval Office with then-22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinksy. That framing predictably caused newspaper headlines all over the city to use this narrative of vulnerability (“Former Campaign Intern Accuses Scott Stringer Of Sexual Abuse, Harassment”) only for it turn turn out that Kim was thirty years old at the time. Kim also denied that she had sought employment with her supposed abuser in his 2013 race, only for Stringer to produce an email she had sent along with her resumé doing exactly that. Moreover, as Substack reporter Michael Tracey documented, Stringer’s accuser “is a registered lobbyist in New York and has a previous business relationship with one of his rival NYC mayoral candidates, Kathryn Garcia (who swiftly called on Stringer to drop out of the race).”
But none of this mattered to the same leading left-wing groups and politicians who instantly abandoned Alex Morse as soon as those allegations emerged. That is because in left-wing political culture, evidence is not needed for accusations to be deemed true and to be used to destroy a person’s reputation built over decades. Just like free speech, they do not believe in due process when it comes to vilifying someone publicly — at all — nor do they recognize the importance of not assuming someone guilty without evidence. They are tyrannical cowards who, sheep-like, jump into line the minute they hear an allegation of this type and repudiate the person accused without the slightest regard for whether he actually did anything wrong. They are too afraid of the recriminations from suggesting that evidence should be required.
As a result, within days of Kim’s accusation about what happened in 2003, many leading left-wing groups announced they were withdrawing their support for Stringer. Worse, they issued statements in which they took the truth of these accusations for granted — exactly as they did to Alex Morse — and in which they all but accused Stringer of being a predator and sexual abuser.
Left-wing state legislators such as Julia Salazar, followed by Rep. Bowman, withdrew their endorsement. The climate group Sunrise Movement’s New York chapter announced that they “stand with and believe survivors of violence of any kind, and that includes Jean Kim,” and demanded Stringer “enter a victim-informed restorative justice process, contingent upon Kim’s desires.” Praising “Kim’s brave testimony recounting her trauma,” the group said it “immediately rescinds our endorsement of Scott Stringer and calls for him to drop out of the race for Mayor of New York City.” In its announcement rescinding their endorsement, the Working Families Party condemned Stringer because, they said, he “failed to acknowledge and consider his responsibility” for the harm he caused — in other words, they were un-endorsing him because he had the temerity to deny that this actually happened.
Do you see what is glaringly absent from these tribunals? There is no recognition of even the remotest possibility that the person may be wrongfully accused, innocent of what they are alleged to have done. In their orgy of self-righteous recriminations and ritualistic denunciations, that thought never enters their mind, nor does any requirement of evidence. Even after these same groups endured the humiliating spectacle of having ratified a bigoted and coordinated attack on Alex Morse as a sex predator only for them to have to have to reverse themselves and re-endorse him, they have learned nothing from that travesty because this is the predominant ethos of left-liberal culture.
It should go without saying that none of this means that Stringer is innocent. Just as the accusers should not be presumed to be truthful, the same is true of the accused. Sometimes accusers lie and sometimes wrongdoers falsely deny wrongdoing. The point — which is only controversial in contemporary left-liberal circles — is that some convincing evidence is required before it is fair and just to destroy someone’s reputation and treat them as guilty.
These are far from the only examples. The left did exactly the same thing to Nancy Pelosi’s progressive 2020 challenger, the Pakistani-American Shahid Buttar. When unproven allegations emerged from several white women that Buttar was guilty of sexism and mistreatment of his staff, the left immediately sided with the white women, concluding that it would be better to send Pelosi back to her position as House Speaker and thus abandoned Buttar’s campaign.
In July, The Intercept published an irresponsible article that gave voice to these allegations against Buttar, only to go back weeks later and quietly insert major new paragraphs that called into serious doubt the credibility of Buttar’s main accuser (an inserted note at the top of that article now simply states: “Editor’s note: This article was updated to include additional context around the allegations made by [accuser] Elizabeth Croydon.” Several of Buttar’s supporters accused the women of using racist tropes against Buttar. One said: “The Democratic Socialists of America San Francisco are about to ruin the political career of a Brown Muslim man based on no evidence at all because a bunch of mediocre Karens complained he was mean to them.”
Needless to say, when the stakes are high enough, progressives kick this framework of presumed-guilt and Believe-Women to the curb. When Joe Biden was the presumptive nominee against Donald Trump, they quickly vilified his accuser Tara Reade as a mentally unwell liar — just as they did in the 1990s to the group of women who accused Bill Clinton of various levels of sexual impropriety, including rape. When something like the presidency is at stake, female accusers of key Democratic male leaders are to be mocked and destroyed, not believed.
That is because there is no discernible principle at play. It is only about power. Why was the highly educated Christine Blasey Ford to be believed with no evidence in her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, and why is Stringer’s accuser, political consultant Jean Kim, to be believed, but Reade was not, even though she had more evidence of contemporaneous complaints to support her allegations?
But the far more important point is that any culture that is willing to destroy reputations and lives based on totally unproven accusations is one that is inherently corrupt and unjust. The ability to destroy someone’s life with nothing more than an uncorroborated claim voiced more than eighteen years after the alleged incident is a power with which nobody should be trusted.
This piece is perfection. Seriously, if it were a person, I would marry it.
I’m a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, and no, you are not required to believe me, for the simple reason that you don’t know me and have no way to gauge my credibility. If you don’t believe me, I won’t call you a rape apologist, I promise. I won’t even feel unsafe. Or harassed. Or retraumatized.
The mantra “Believe Survivors” always begs the question: how do you know whether the person making an allegation is a survivor? What the mantra really means is “Believe every person who makes an allegation,” which is absurd on its face.
Stringer spoke out against Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation using much of the same rhetorical devices now wielded by his opponents in the mayoral race. I get that Glenn is arguing for the broader ideal, but I have no sympathy for Scott Stringer. You reap what you sow. Here's the link for those that are interested...