Anthony Bouchard, who’s running for Liz Cheney’s Wyoming House seat, admits he’s a statutory rapist. When he was 18, he had sex with a 14 year old, got her pregnant, and married her in Florida when she was 15 (Sunshine State law allowed it back then when there was a pregnancy involved). That’s a felony in both Florida and Wyoming. They divorced three years later, and she killed herself a couple of years after that (which I can’t directly blame on Bouchard, though I do wonder what trauma might have developed in her situation).
Unsurprisingly, Bouchard’s going with the Trump playbook and insisting he did absolutely nothing wrong: it was a Romeo and Juliet situation, people are trying to smear him with something that happened 20 years ago: “They’ll stop at nothing, man, when you get in the lead and when you’re somebody that can’t be controlled, you’re somebody who works for the people. They’ll come after you. That’s why good people don’t run for office.” Using Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s standard for judging old incidents — was it wrong at the time? Has the person apologized? Have their views changed? — Bouchard fails all three prongs. Statutory rape was wrong at the time, he’s not apologizing and he clearly doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
Judging by the way Republicans adored Roy Moore, who harassed and hit on teens when he was in his forties, I doubt this will hurt Bouchard. Right-wing hack Brent Bozell has already declared that yeah, it might have been wrong, but God’s pleased they didn’t abort the baby! Republicans can get behind a virtue-signalling sleazeball way more than they can support a moral liberal.
Plenty of forced birthers think a girl marrying her rapist is preferable to abortion or the supposed shame of being damaged goods (Republican Tom Smith said having his daughter pregnant without marriage would be no different than rape). Some of them are fond of marrying girls when they’re young enough to control. Which may be why some conservatives, such as James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal thinks shotgun weddings were a better solution to single motherhood than birth control. Given Taranto also thinks (as noted at the link) we’d be better off if employers could discriminate against women — if they didn’t have careers, they’d have to get married to support themselves, right — I suspect his concern is more a distaste for women’s independence than anything else.
It’s basic patriarchal thinking: men are entitled to control “their” wives and daughters. A powerful man — Moore, Trump — is entitled to boss around any woman he can dominate. It’s also the authoritarian thinking that you do not question your leaders, ever. Whether that will be enough to put Bouchard over the top, I don’t know, but I can’t image being a statutory rapist will hurt him.