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Using excessive in politics steadily means you merely have additional to fall – simply ask sitting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo went from being talked about as a possible presidential candidate within the spring of 2020 – thanks largely to his dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state – to media ridicule and attainable state senate impeachment now, as a result of allegations of repeated sexual harassment occurring over a number of years.
In response to the Quinnipiac College Ballot, Cuomo’s job approval score amongst registered voters in New York fell 44 proportion factors between Could 2020 and August 2021 – to only 28% in a newly launched ballot, his lowest recorded score since taking workplace in 2011.
New York Lawyer Common Letitia James issued a report on August 3, 2021 discovering that Cuomo’s habits runs afoul of state and federal definitions of sexual harassment. That probably bodes additional erosion of his assist and will present the ultimate blow.
Regardless of the lack of public approval, the pillorying by the press, and abandonment by most of his political allies, Cuomo is behaving as if he can maintain onto his workplace, rejecting the fees and excusing his habits by claiming he’s only a heat form of man. He appears to be betting that he’s personally stronger than this scandal, a ploy he could have realized from former President Donald Trump.
The nation watched in awe as Trump survived scandal after scandal, together with these of a sexual nature, all through his presidency and but remained in workplace, seemingly untouchable.
With roughly 17 months left in workplace, the query is: Can Andrew Cuomo do the identical?
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Hassle at house
Cuomo has been, and nonetheless is, following the overarching Trump playbook for coping with scandal: for those who merely deny having executed something improper, ultimately it should blow over.
As a scholar of public opinion and polling, I imagine that Cuomo faces three huge obstacles, nevertheless, that Trump didn’t face:
He’s not Donald Trump, who had a cult of character behind him that was just about unshakeable;
The true power of the #MeToo motion – the wave of allegations concerning sexual harassment and different types of misconduct that introduced down some highly effective figures in fields like leisure, information and politics – solely started in late 2017, after a lot of Trump’s, however earlier than most of Cuomo’s, soiled laundry had aired; and
Cuomo is a Democratic officeholder, in a Democratic state, and as such is held to the next customary by his constituency than Trump was in terms of sexual harassment.
In different phrases, Cuomo is in a extra susceptible place, he’s dealing with a public far more attuned to girls’s harassment claims, and, most significantly, his constituency is of course predisposed to evaluate him harshly on this problem.
Fallout on each side
Being a Democrat, and subsequently counting on Democrats as a base for assist, is essentially the most tough impediment for Cuomo to beat.
In response to a nationwide December 2019 CBS Information Ballot, 89% of Democrats say sexual harassment and misconduct is a major problem, together with 49% who say the issue may be very critical.
Evaluate this to the decrease 64% of Republicans who say it’s critical, together with solely 17% who view the issue as very critical (32 proportion factors decrease than Democrats).
Because of this Cuomo’s issues are usually not simply typical partisan issues. He’s dealing with fallout not simply from the opposing occasion, however on each side of the aisle. And for this specific habits he’s particularly dealing with it on his personal facet.
This particular characteristic of his Democratic constituency accounts for the dilemma Cuomo is at present dealing with making an attempt to carry onto workplace amid public and political outcry over his actions.
Cuomo has by no means been an angel within the eyes of New Yorkers. In April 2020, Politico ran the next headline for a narrative about Cuomo’s fame throughout the pandemic: “I Simply Hope This Factor Ends Quickly So I Can Go Again to Hating Andrew Cuomo Once more.”
However, Democrats are usually not forgiving him for the sexual harassment scandal, particularly after years of studying how pervasive and damaging that form of habits is. In response to a Marist Ballot carried out on the night following Letitia James’ report launch, a 52% majority of registered New York Democrats say Cuomo ought to resign from workplace. Solely 41% of New York Democrats suppose he ought to serve out his time period. Even non-white New York voters, a key Democratic constituency, favor Cuomo resigning by a six-percentage-point margin. Whereas typically preliminary reactions may be tempered by time, if this drags out, which it seems prone to do, Cuomo is unlikely to get better his base.
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Wishful pondering vs. actuality
How does Cuomo suppose he can soldier on within the face of shedding his base of assist? In any case, it seems if he doesn’t resign, the state meeting and Senate, together with the members of New York’s highest courtroom, the Court docket of Appeals, who preside with the Senate as a Excessive Court docket of Impeachment, will take issues into their very own palms and impeach and convict him, thereby eradicating him from workplace.
With the Republican U.S. Senate, this was by no means an actual risk for Trump – Republican constituents by no means misplaced their religion in Trump. But when Cuomo is relying on the New York state legislature to not impeach and convict, he’s not studying the ballot numbers.
Having misplaced his public constituency, Cuomo has additionally misplaced assist within the legislature. It’s a legislation of politics that few sitting members could be keen to buck their very own house constituents to defend a publicly unpopular govt.
Cuomo could, as many suppose Trump did, imagine in his personal thoughts that his habits didn’t cross traces of unethical or unlawful conduct, however the majority of New York voters and his former political allies now disagree with that.
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Monika L. McDermott is affiliated with sensible corners Analysis and Technique as a part-time marketing consultant.