In a further sign of the total breakdown of the GOP and conservative movement, their response to the gruesome revelations of sexual assaults by New York A.G. Eric Schneiderman couldn't do any better than partisan dunking -- "What a surprise, liberal Democrat rapes again!" Partisan attacks are self-defeating because the other side can always snipe back at the other other side -- "What a surprise, lardass conservatives marching us toward nuclear war in the Middle East in order to keep gravy train going to missile-makers!"
The real answer to these kinds of stories is how empty and endangering it is to prop up a moral system on the hazy notion of "consent". Did Schneiderman's victims overtly declare their consent before sexual activity began, then verbally withdraw that consent as he was in the middle of slapping them around and spitting in their face? Or at least, did they use their body language to signal withdrawal of consent, say by struggling free, leaping out of bed, and running toward the door?
No? Well, then, it was all "consensual" -- and even if they didn't overtly declare so beforehand, at least it was implied at the outset, and they never clearly withdrew their consent during the acts.
Or perhaps they were simply paralyzed by fear, especially if their attacker was in a position of power over them -- either physically, owing to being a man rather than a woman, or socially, owing to his higher status. Or perhaps they were so caught off-guard that they were not so much fearful, as they were in a state of shock. In either case, being frozen and not knowing how to respond, other than maybe numbing themselves to the attack by going into a dissociative state.
And according to consent-based morality, if she has withdrawn into a dissociative state, she isn't objecting, and it's OK to keep doing what you're doing.
This is the dead-end of a moral system founded on the concept of "consent" -- it's not how real-life human beings interact, so it remains hazily defined and largely inapplicable when evaluating whether some act was right or wrong.
The truth is that acts are right or wrong regardless of whether anyone "consents" to them. Whether it is outright assault -- unprovoked striking, choking -- or degradation and humiliation -- spitting, belittling words, etc. Only libertarians are immune to the recognition of the second class of wrongdoing, which falls under depurification rather than harm or violence. Even liberals recognize some degree of taboo against debasing what ought to be elevated, polluting what ought to be pure, and making ugly what ought to be pretty.
These taboo acts are even more wrong when they are done in a context where one party assumed it was safe, only to be betrayed by the other party -- it is wronger to trick someone into letting down their guard in order to do wrong things to them, than to try to do those wrong things to them when they're only unsuspecting (and therefore more guarded than when they are trusting).
In an ordinary world, where people are socially connected to one another and where social news (gossip) travels quickly and broadly, once it got out that Schneiderman had degradingly sexually assaulted these women after tricking them into a vulnerable state, he would have gotten the overkill treatment by the community for such brazen anti-social behavior. Not just a swift death sentence, but with more degradation to his body than he had inflicted upon his victims -- bone-breaking, burning, beheading, etc. The agents of justice would have probably been the menfolk of the victims, or their close neighbors, or a neutral third party unaware of liberal morality.
In the modern world, especially a large anonymous urban metro like New York, sociopaths can blend into the faceless sprawling crowd, and the victims will have no one to turn to, being unrooted or uprooted from people who would actually give a damn about them if they were done wrong to, especially their extended family.
Conservatives have no way to even diagnose these pervasive problems, let alone come up with a treatment, because they have corrupted themselves into libertarian apologists for laissez-faire, deregulation, the law of the jungle, and Social Darwinism.
How can you square the idea that the weak and vulnerable ought to be protected from the strong and untouchable, with the idea that we're just supposed to let things happen however they're going to happen? No intervening -- especially not by the gubmint -- no rule-setting (regulation), no protecting. Each individual must pick themselves up by their own bootstraps and fend for themselves, including a 110-pound woman being slapped around, choked, and spit on by a man who tricked her into thinking he was normal.
There is no such concept as "abuse of power" (whether physical or social) in laissez-faire morality because this system supports "survival of the fittest". In the minds of conservative pundits, if you find yourself getting slapped around, choked, and spit on during sex -- maybe you should just carry a gun to defend yourself, or not make stupid decisions like getting in bed with a liberal Democrat.
Conservatives blind themselves to sociopathic behavior, which tricks its victims into letting their guard down, because they need to blame the victims (she made an obviously stupid / risky choice, rather than she got tricked by a con-man, or pressured by someone more powerful and overpowering). Libertarian morality exists to apologize for the abuses of the powerful, including by con-men -- notwithstanding the pro forma condemnation that libertarians show toward "fraud," which they are somehow never howling for to be punished.
If they were to agree to the existence of sociopaths and sociopathy, and their outsized influence on anti-social behavior -- especially the higher-ranking in society that they are -- they would be cornered into the choice of either defending unmasked Satanic anarchy, or surrendering their warped worldview altogether. Rather than face that untenable level of cognitive dissonance, they block out awareness of the problem to begin with.
For, once you agree to regulation and protection in one domain of life, like "what two (or more) adults do behind closed doors," you are led to apply that principle in other domains, like "how employers treat their employees". If a sociopath is allowed to trick a woman into bed, where he subjects her to choking, slapping, and spitting -- why is a sociopath not also allowed to trick a worker into thinking he's a well-meaning manager running a nice normal workplace, where he then subjects his employees to unpaid overtime, making them ask permission to take a piss, pays them whatever their illegal immigrant competition would accept in wages and benefits, and is always reminding them that he can fire them at any time for any reason if they ever feel like withdrawing their "consent" to being managed in those ways.
At this crucial turning-point in our social and political zeitgeist, the GOP, conservative commentators, and Republican voters, have totally dropped the ball. They are still busy defending the law of the jungle, and only slamming Schneiderman to say, "See, your tribe has criminals, too, not just our tribe, you hypocrites!"
It may be worse: I get the feeling that Republicans think that Schneiderman's behavior is only weird and embarrassing, so ha-ha for your side being caught with an embarrassing weirdo. Like, we GOP-ers are not here to kink-shame -- if you want to slap and choke a bitch in bed, not judging, not hating, but how embarrassing that the public found out! I don't sense their thinking this was profoundly immoral and requiring a death sentence.
They were supposed to be in a "re-alignment" toward communal solidarity, but have revealed themselves to be an ossified dinosaur party and movement that will get swept into extinction by a whole new paradigm, led by the Bernie revolution.
If conservatives want to prevent further degradation, they will abandon the sinking ship of their official movement, and climb on board the Bernie boats, to make sure they are steered in a wholesome direction.
Most liberal Gen-X and Millennial women can already sense how empty the consent model of morality has proven itself to be. They may not be able to articulate what's wrong with it, but they sense that it's just plain wrong to humiliate and subject others to degradation, especially if they're weaker, and especially if you've tricked them into letting their guard down -- regardless of some hazily defined and hard-to-verify notion of "consent".
They're struggling to latch onto a more solid moral system than the law of the jungle, and they are already staunchly opposed to Social Darwinism in the economic domain. If conservatives do not put aside their suicidal partisanship, the neo-Progressive Era will re-discover the moral system of solidarity, communal values, and the wholesomeness that it leads to, as it leads away from do-anything degeneracy. If conservatives cannot play a guiding role in that moral transformation, they are not only worthless -- they must be actively sidelined so that they don't get in its way.
It will fall more to the Bernie progressives to identify the material basis of these social ills -- such as anonymous urban environments, where people are rootless, driven to being uprooted from their families by the strip-mining of our once abundant economy in all but a few locations, and so on and so forth. They will also figure out how to mitigate and solve those material problems, by re-industrializing the economy, especially bringing such work back to revive small towns, where people and their families and communities can remain in place over generations, without having to scramble all over the map like Somali nomads in search of the few oases amidst their economic desert.
"Social-cultural conservatives for Bernie" will become more of a cohesive bloc the more that we slide from our Midcentury golden age, and harken back to it as the ideal -- an industrialized economy with strong labor unions, and a protectionist government, which supported small towns, healthy social relations, and a wholesome culture.