Duane Hall is dropping flyers and robocalls in his district. What they could say to allay the disgust of progressive voters, I do not know. I am not convinced he knows. But he clearly wants his political career to continue.
This is narcissistic delusion. Hall was never the political talent he thought he was, hence why a former legislator eclipsed his US Senate trial balloon. (A woman, by the way.) He hasn’t been on the scene long enough to have earned staying power. Few allies exist within his party, and progressive opposition to him is hardening daily.
The 2020 field for lieutenant governor will be crowded. Politicians covet the position, now more so than ever as Dan Forest has demonstrated the office’s potential. Few, hopefully none, of Hall’s rivals will be burdened by ethical allegations. Most Democratic primary voters will be women. Unless sexual-propriety norms go into reverse, Hall has no political future.
Representative Hall–who should already be former Representative Hall–seems to think he can survive by copying the Bill Clinton model. Clinton weathered a long storm of sexual harassment allegations, and emerged from the maelstrom as president. Hall should not expect the same fate for himself. He isn’t a tenth of Clinton, talent-wise. More importantly, Democratic Party norms have shifted so decisively that even the former president himself has been repudiated by star figures.
Why, then, does Hall insist on staying in? Almost no one believes his defenses–and it is unlikely anyone ever will. The longer this scandal lingers in the news, the more his private-sector client base will erode. He has already damaged the lives of women, and now, ironically, his obstinacy in clinging to a failed political career is bringing harm to his own life. An odd justice indeed.
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.