“If you had asked me two weeks ago, would any woman come forward with an allegation like this, I would have said no,” he said. “And so I cannot speculate. This has been a shock, and it’s been extremely humbling.”

Why can’t Franken just come out and say whether he believes the women? The answer seems clear: Franken is trying to rewrite the playbook for successfully surviving a sexual harassment scandal in our newly conscious post-Weinstein culture. Where the politicos of yesteryear would have issued a terse, blanket denial before sweeping the accusations into the past, Franken is trying a new tactic: the terse, blanket apology, followed by sweeping the accusations into the past. He seems to have deduced—probably correctly—that the damage his admission will do his career is less than the damage done by appearing to silence his accusers.