• November 28, 2021

Democrats say Cuomo should resign. He refuses. Now what?

The new report accusing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, of sexually harassing multiple women has increased the odds that he will be removed from office, but has not completely allayed fears that he will be. drop the hook.

The New York State Attorney General’s Office Report documented testimony of 11 women, mostly state employees, who allege that Cuomo acted inappropriately with them. The accusations covered conduct that ranged from unwanted kisses and caresses to inappropriate comments. A state employee claims Cuomo touched her breast; others describe the governor telling sexual jokes and commenting on how they looked.

This it’s not even the only scandal Cuomo’s Face: Researchers are looking at his handling of data on Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes and whether he used state resources write and promote a book, among other matters. Criminal charges from county prosecutors are also possible. (In response, an attorney for the governor issued a statement stating that the worst accusations are simply false, and Cuomo himself claimed in a Twitter video that he has a habit of touching people’s faces and has no intention of anything sexual with it).

A chorus of top national and state Democrats, including President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Adams, nominee for Democratic mayor of New York City, Y The entire New York Democratic Congress delegation – have concluded that enough is enough and demanded the resignation of Cuomo.

The problem is that, for now at least, it says it won’t.

At a press conference on Tuesday, August 3, President Joe Biden told reporters that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign following the results of a state investigation into his behavior.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

What’s Next? An impeachment vote is looming in the New York State Assembly, raising the threat that Cuomo could be inadvertently removed from power. But Democrats still hope that is not necessary. As New York State Senator James Skoufis said said recentlyThe hope is that once it becomes clear to Cuomo that his impeachment and impeachment are safe, he will resign to save face a bit.

Politicians plagued by scandals often do not resign out of embarrassment or meekness, but because they have concluded that leaving office voluntarily is the least bad and safest option for them personally.

That could still happen. But Cuomo has evidently not yet concluded that he is doomed. We have seen politicians reject resignation requests and reject impeachment efforts before, even in the face of seemingly damning evidence. If Cuomo continues to refuse to go, Democrats will have two options to overthrow him against his will: 1) by impeachment and 2) in the 2022 election, if impeachment fails and Cuomo continues his bid for reelection.

Cuomo seems headed for impeachment

A scandal-prompted resignation is nothing new for New York Democrats, given the downfalls of Governor Eliot Spitzer (in 2008) and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (in 2018). But Cuomo seems to be trying a different strategy: that of Donald Trump, who stayed in the 2016 presidential race. after several women He accused him of sexual misconduct and in the White House after numerous scandals. Cuomo may also be thinking of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam: Virtually all prominent Democrats asked him to resign when photos showing him with a black face surfaced in 2019, but he remained in office and has been since welcome back in polite democratic company.

However, Cuomo’s political position looks much worse than that of Trump or Northam. While some of the top Republicans disowned Trump at times, most others remained loyal to him despite years of scandals, as did the vast majority of Republican voters. But polls already show a narrow majority of Democratic voters in the state. saying cuomo should quit.

Meanwhile, the Northam scandal did not involve official misconduct, so the impeachment never got anywhere. But leaders of the New York State Assembly, which has impeachment power, have said they take the pursuit of Cuomo’s impeachment very seriously and I hope it happens within months.

On Tuesday, August 3, New York Attorney General Letitia James (center) presented the findings of an independent investigation looking at allegations of sexual harassment by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

Impeach a governor in the New York State Legislature plays out similarly to that of a president of the United States in Congress. The Assembly goes first, and a majority vote is needed for impeachment. Then a trial is held in the state Senate, and it takes a two-thirds vote to convict Cuomo, remove him from office, and bar him from holding elected office in the state in the future. (One difference is that the “jury” in a possible impeachment of Cuomo would include 62 state senators plus seven judges of the New York State Court of Appeals, all of whom he named Cuomo).

Democrats have large majorities in both the State Assembly and the State Senate, so Cuomo’s fate is up to them. As with Trump, Cuomo’s best hope may be the Senate two-thirds threshold required for conviction. If only 24 senators vote no, he will be able to remain in power.

Still, Democrats hope to avoid the ugly and lengthy impeachment process by having Cuomo resign. One way to do this would be to make it clear that you do not have sufficient support from state senators and that the outcome is truly inevitable, if it is.

If Cuomo survives impeachment, there are elections next year

As of now, Cuomo still seems willing to run for a fourth term as governor, and no Democrat has stepped in to challenge him in the June 2022 primaries. So if he manages to fend off impeachment, and if, unlikely as it may seem today, he stays in the race, the party would face off. to a great dilemma.

That is, they would need at least one strong challenger to oust Cuomo, but if several enter the race and Cuomo stays, it can be a challenge for the group to coordinate around an alternative.

According to Katie Glueck of the New York Times, “Many Democrats hope” that Attorney General Letitia James, whose office released this week’s report on the investigation into Cuomo’s conduct, will run, but it is unclear whether she will. An early, unified party backing a challenger would be another way to send the message to Cuomo that his time as governor is over.

But Cuomo could bet he’s more in touch with grassroots voters than his critics. Glueck writes that he has been seeking “to connect with those voters, especially older voters, who might sympathize with his suggestion that many of the misconduct allegations can be attributed to ‘generational or cultural’ differences or misunderstandings.” And, if things really get to this point, it would really be those voters who would make the decision.

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