Bob Menendez, Joe Manchin
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (right) with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Photo credit: Senator Bob Menendez / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Based on their response to the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D), it’s fair to say that Democratic voters do not think that being indicted for bribery and abusing one’s office in exchange for cash, valuable gifts, and gold bars is a good thing.

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If you want to understand how Democrats and Republicans view accountability differently, look no further than a new poll taken in New Jersey.

Here, where Sen. Bob Menendez (D) was indicted last month for his role in a bribery scheme, support for him has cratered. A whopping 78 percent of likely Democratic primary voters think that the senator, who formerly chaired the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, should resign, according to the poll conducted by the group Data for Progress. A mere 14 percent think he should stay in office for now.

That is a sharp contrast to the GOP, where Donald Trump seems to gain support every time he is charged with some new crime — no matter how credible the evidence against him is or how serious the alleged offense.

In addition, New Jersey Democrats also left little doubt that, if Menendez does not resign on his own, they will take care of that matter themselves during the primary.

The senator is up for reelection next year, and Rep. Andy Kim has already announced that he will challenge Menendez.

And, right now, Kim would crush the incumbent.

In a head-to-head matchup, Kim leads Menendez by 39 points. If the primary were held today, Kim would get 48 percent of the vote and Menendez 9 percent!

In a more crowded field, the senator’s support drops even further to an anemic 6 percent.

Based on these figures, it’s fair to say that Democratic voters do not think that being indicted for bribery and abusing one’s office for personal gain (i.e., lots of cash, valuable gifts, and gold bars) is a good thing.

It should also be noted that scores of prominent Democrats, including more than half of his colleagues, have called on Menendez to resign; he also lost his gavel as the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee immediately. 

Over on the Republican side, it’s a different picture.

Here, Trump is the runaway favorite to win the Republican nomination. Nobody seems bothered by him staging a coup, stealing classified documents, obstructing justice, etc.

And hardly anybody in his own party is calling on the former president to withdraw from the race.

We should all be used to this by now, but when contrasting Trump’s situation to that of Menendez, it is quickly apparent that the two parties have completely different measuring sticks when it comes to what kind of behavior constitutes a reason for being fired or forced to resign.

The one type of behavior Republicans do not appear to tolerate is disloyalty — especially to Trump. Because that will get you in real trouble… and possibly even earn you a childish nickname from the former president. 

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