So once again a well known political figure has been accused of being sexually inappropriate. Often opinions about such accusations fall along partisan lines. That’s not the case with Andrew Cuomo, however. A lot of Democrats don’t like Andy, either.
Let me say right off that I don’t have a strong opinion about whether Andrew Cuomo should resign as governor of New York. Conventional wisdom says he won’t. A Quinnipiac poll conducted March 2-3 found that 55 percent of New York voters don’t want Andy to resign, although that could change. It’s also being reported that Andy has always aimed at serving four terms as governor, which would better his legendary father Mario, who only served three. Andy is up for re-election in 2022.
In all the years I lived in New York I can’t say I was ever a big fan of Andy’s. Sometimes he did things I liked; sometimes I disagreed with him. I could never see that his being governor made any big difference in the state from the tenure of the last long-serving governor, Republican George Pataki. In between Pataki and Cuomo were two-short term Democrats, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, both of whom left office under clouds of scandal.
In all the years I lived in the greater New York City area I never was able to wrap my head around what goes on in the state government in Albany. I don’t think anybody knows. I imagine it to be a dark place, full of locked doors and funhouse mirrors. I also never had a sense that either the state or the city were being managed all that well. Certainly a lot could be done better.
But back to Andy. He has long had a reputation for being an abrasive bully, so when multiple accusers say he runs a hostile and toxic workplace I am inclined to believe them. But whether that or the accusations of his being a sexually inappropriate creep rise to the level of stuff that automatically forces one to resign is a matter of opinion.
I’m seeing a lot of speculation on social media that the accusations against Andy are somehow being generated by the Trump camp. The theory is that if they can replace Andy with a Republican, and Trump is convicted if some crime in New York state, the Repubican governor will pardon him.
Let me say that this is farfetched. First, the accusations against Andy aren’t exactly coming out of left field. Like I said, he’s long been known to be a bully.
Second, any Republican, especially one known to be a fan of Donald Trump, is a long shot to win a statewide office in New York next year no matter whether Andy is running or not. It’s a blue state. The last re-elections of senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were landslides. Democrats hold huge majorities in both houses of the state legislature. A moderate Republican *could* win the next gubernatorial election, perhaps, but not a really Trumpy one.
It might be notable that in the 2018 elections, Kirsten Gillibrand won 67 percent of the state’s votes, but Andy received 59 percent. That’s still a respectable win, but the difference suggests some frustration with Andy. And Andy might be more vulnerable in 2022 than he was then. Perhaps if Republicans really are scheming to replace him with one of their own, they might do better running against Andy than someone else. (See The Democrats who could take Cuomo’s place at Politico.)
I do think we need to come to some kind of general agreement as to what constitutes “due process” in these situations; “these situations” being lapses of character that weren’t criminal, or if they were criminal there is not enough evidence for a proper trial. We want to avoid rushing to judgment. I am still sorry that Al Franken was pushed out of the Senate so quickly. And remember Tara Reade, whose allegations against Joe Biden eventually fell apart under scrutiny? On the other hand, such accusations ought not to be easily dismissed but given a respectful hearing. I think we’re still in the “respectful hearing” phase of the Andrew Cuomo scandal story.
And I think the situation with covid patients in nursing homes is the bigger deal. If a third scandal were to emerge in the next few months, Andy would be toast. And I would be okay with that.