Stephanie Minor is no friend of Andrew Cuomo.
A lifelong top democratic official in New York and a former mayor of Syracuse, Ms. Minor has spent years criticizing the governor’s polarizing leadership style, even bidding to unite her in 2018. Fights for his jobFacing growing calls by Democratic lawmakers to resign over allegations of groping and sexual harassment, Ms. Minor is not ready to rule them out.
“We have this culture now of purity tests where it’s instant gratification – are you on the right side or the wrong side?” Said Ms. Miner, who wants to wait An independent inquiry In the allegations, which she believes is the best way to overcome widespread problems Sexual Harassment in Albany. “Answers and solutions need to be more subtle.”
Democrats with many voters now face a highly fluid, still developing situation in New York Visible to share Ms. Khan’s caution about expelling the governor fast. The seriousness of the allegations increased this week when the Times Union of Albany Reported A new charge against Mr. Cuomo: When he was alone with a female colleague at the executive mansion last year, he closed a door, reached under her blouse and began to fumble. He has denied that he has touched anyone improperly.
Mr. Cuomo’s support among Democratic politicians in New York has faded away. On Friday evening, state senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, asked him to resign hours after most other Democrats in New York’s congressional delegation resigned. The day before, the State Democratic Officer Took the first step Potentially impeachment to Mr. Cuomo.
Public opinion can now turn sharply against Mr. Cuomo, but it is also clear that after a decade with him as governor, many Democrats have found that sitting in his judgment – and demanding a penalty like resignation – Not so simple.
For some people, Mr. A conversation about the future of Cuomo has intensified which has been taking place within the party since Senator Al Franken. Resigned in 2018: What should happen to powerful liberal male leaders who are publicly accused of sexual misconduct?
Four years into the #MeToo movement, there is little consensus among Democrats about the appropriate procedure to deal with such claims or the punishment against them. The recent accusations against Mr. Cuomo were under the purview of sexual harassment, and Democratic voters have expressed reluctance to resign on such charges without further investigation, according to interviews and exchanges of dozens of people this week. Groping’s claim arises over an accusation of assault, which has made some Democrats more open to relinquishing their positions.
Yet a number expressed their view that Democratic officials accused of sexual misconduct have lost their jobs in recent years, while not Republicans – a misconception prompted by the impressions of Mr. Frank’s resignation. This is former President Donald J. There is a sentiment about Trump with dull feelings, which many Democrats believe never paid a political price after he was accused of worse treatment of women.
In remarks on Friday afternoon, Mr. Cuomo dismissed concerns that he had no plans to resign from his post and inspire political motives behind the allegations. He asked voters not to make quick decisions about him, even if Mr. Cuomo had done so with others before, such as Eric T. His call for Schneiderman To resign as Attorney General In 2018, as he faced detailed physical assault charges.
“People know the difference between playing politics, vying to deconstruct culture and truth,” Mr. Kumo said. “Too many people accuse me of too many things for too many reasons.”
Meredith Pilat, a Democratic voter in Manhattan, said that her view of Mr. Kyomo had shifted after being accused and that she could no longer defend her actions. But she still wants an investigation and does not believe she should be impeached without “hard-core evidence”.
“I think he wants his day in court and an opportunity to defend himself. Everyone rushes to blasphemy these days, especially in politics, and it needs to stop,” he said. While he reportedly Actually what he did was definitely not right, it did not come close to some antics even from the other side. “
“When I see the Republican Party playing dirty every day, I get a little angry at the double standard imposed by Democrats,” he said.
Beyond Mr. Franken, who was accused of groping and forcibly kissing women, A handful of prominent democratic politicians She has lost her job as a result of sexual harassment or assault charges. Less still hurt his party’s grip on power: Mr. Franken, who represented Minnesota, was replaced in the Senate by another Democrat, Tina Smith, who won re-election by a comfortable margin last year Was.
“My concern is that people have some kind of opposite view that #MeToo means a lot of powerful people losing their jobs,” said Fatima Gose Graves, chairwoman of the National Women’s Law Center. “The truth of the matter is, we are still in the midst of a very important calculation that will hopefully allow people to work and live with safety and equity.”
Still, concerns about Mr. Franken’s resignation remain for some Democratic voters, prompting some politicians to change their attitudes toward sexual misconduct claims. The independent investigation into the allegations against Mr. Cuomo – as well as the impeachment investigation authorized by the New York State Legislative Assembly on Thursday – creates a process to deal with the allegations in a way that may be considered appropriate by the public.
“Some lessons were learned from Franken,” said Shaunna Thomas, founder of Ultraviolet, a women’s rights advocacy organization. “You cannot come to any conclusion about what should happen next from the process or investigation.”
He said, “It is a really unfair proposition if all of this is left to the public court.”
The debate over due process to handle charges against Mr. Cuomo underscores the big questions for Democrats in Trump’s postwar era.
After Democrats voiced their support for equality in moral terms during the Trump administration, conservative news outlets have tagged the party eagerly for its failure to demand an equally immediate resignation with accusations of hypocrisy. This has revived some Democrats’ concerns that their party is conducting a politically damaging purity test.
After President Biden, similar questions were raised at the center of the presidential campaign last year, when there was a candidate Allegations of sexual harassment by Tara Reade, A former colleague. The allegations did not resonate among the majority of Democratic voters and the issue faded.
Politics, with its tribal loyalties, is a challenging environment to debunk such claims, which may involve a lot of gray area to highlight the seriousness of sexual misconduct. Political institutions generally lack an independent mechanism to conduct an unbiased investigation of claims to protect both the claims and the accused. And in the court of public opinion, not all charges bear the same weight, despite intense public scrutiny of those who come forward.
The anonymous nature of the most serious charge against Mr. Cuomo – not an uncommon occurrence when dealing with traumatic sexual assault – makes it easier for some voters to dismiss the alleged behavior.
The nation’s most famous feminist activist, Gloria Steinem, said, “With more accusations, it seems more obvious that it would have been better for him if he had resigned, and if it had been better for his accusers, an independent rather than a trial by the media Investigate. “
Not that some Democratic voters understand the changing change of the moment. While waiting for a bus in Harlem this week, Cheyes Murray was angered by the suggestion that Mr. Cuomo should resign, adding that he was one of the few officers helping people through the worst part of the epidemic Were.
The three-term governor faces two crises simultaneously:
“Of all the governors, he was the one who protected us from disease, going on television,” Ms Murray said. “Democrats just want to make an example of that because they couldn’t find Trump.”
a Chain Of survey Before the latest allegations surfaced it was found that the majority of voters did not want Mr. Cuomo to resign, even if Their approval rating has fallen And most voters say they should not run for a fourth term.
Even some of Mr. Cuomo’s fiercest critics admit that his slide from a liberal hero to a politically disgruntled leader has shocked some voters, who struggle to contend with the ballooning spirit of controversy that has engulfed his administration Struggling for as he faces a federal series. And state investigation.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, a critic of Mr. Seemo and former aide, admitted that some voters were struggling to assimilate the Governor’s image as an abusive leader, with many in the most difficult period of his life with one man Changed from one to.
“It’s hard for people to hold onto their minds, it’s a unconvincing belief that at the same time this person made you feel safe, doing things and making decisions that were not only bad, but prone to misconduct. Were, “said Ms. Begbie, who was the first to call for her resignation.
Mr. Cuomo has apologized for some of his behavior, but has also made a play for the time by asking peopleWait for the facts“To emerge from the investigation, which is overseeing the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, and it may take several months. Her political support may not be that long.
Few Democrats from outside New York have commented on the case, and neither has Mr. Biden, although his press secretary, Jane Saki, has repeatedly supported the investigation – Hillary Clinton echoes a sentiment on Monday.
Those who are Mr. Calling for Cuomo’s resignation, they see his behavior as hypocrisy, arguing that some of his actions would be violated A Comprehensive Workplace Harassment Law He signed in 2019. They also argue that the charges against them fit into a larger pattern of abuse of power.
Susan Joseph, a Democrat and retired teacher from Rynebeck, N.Y., said the allegations changed her opinion of the governor, who thought she had an “obnoxious personality”, but cleverly managed the epidemic early. She now thinks that she should resign.
71-year-old Ms. Joseph said, “To use his power to rob his young women was simply unconscious.” , Who thinks he is untouchable. I find his behavior vile. “