For example, one might argue that we should not make political decisions based on accusations this old, unless there is credible evidence of a pattern that continued long afterward. Once decades have passed, it becomes impossible to evaluate such accusations fairly, because too many memories and records have been lost. The verdict ends up resting too much on one’s subjective evaluation of the accuser’s credibility, and such evaluations are inevitably colored by one’s prior opinion of the accused.
That would have been a very good position to take on Kavanaugh, not just because there was so little solid evidence. A decent society allows for rehabilitation, and when we cannot get clear evidence of a crime, then if there’s no evidence of later wrongdoing, we should err on the side of hoping that either the accuser was mistaken or the offender has reformed.
But if you insisted that Kavanaugh must go, it’s hard to argue for mercy now without saying the painful words “I was wrong.” Alternatively, Biden’s supporters can insist that such accusations should disqualify you for higher office, no matter how old or uncorroborated, while noting that in this election, they have no candidate who hasn’t been accused of sexual assault — in Trump’s case, by numerous women.