New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s once-illustrious image has been brought to its knees amid several sexual harassment allegations from former staff members. On top of this already career-defining scandal, Cuomo has also faced severe criticism and scrutiny for his mismanagement of COVID-19 in nursing homes across New York.
The Cuomo reign toppled seemingly as quickly as it was built. I imagine I am not the only Lewis & Clark student who took comfort in Cuomo’s level-headed demeanor throughout the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of late, that cool exterior has melted as Cuomo faces calls to resign.
Democrats, however, vary in their responses to the allegations against Cuomo. Several New York Democrats — including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have pushed for Cuomo’s resignation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged people to believe and respect the women who stepped forward, but neglected to comment on whether or not she thought Cuomo should resign. President Joe Biden revealed on Tuesday that he believes Cuomo should resign if there is any truth to the allegations made against him.
All the same, Cuomo insists that he will not bow to the pressures of cancel culture and refuses to resign.
In many ways, Cuomo represents the conservative nepotism-drenched legacy of American politics. As the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, it appears that the current New York governor had an easier time getting a foot in the door than most other politicians. But now that he is in, he has chosen to barricade himself inside. Until Democrats can unify towards one common aim of accountability and justice, Cuomo will remain a dark spot on the Democratic Party.
After reading article after article reporting on the women who have stepped forward, I found myself perusing the comments on each article. Assuredly, Cuomo’s actions were far less blunt than those of men like former President Donald Trump, who brazenly admit to sexual assault on camera. But in many ways, that makes Cuomo’s sexual advances even more dangerous. Many commenters declared Cuomo’s behavior much milder in comparison to the backlash he received. However, these misogynistic microaggressions often belittle, demean and place undue burden on women in the workplace, while also isolating them in the fear of being overdramatic. Women like Anita Hill and Monica Lewinsky ’95 prove the Democratic Party’s tendency to silence women in order to allow male politicians to save face.
The Democratic Party needs to address these issues of sexism not as outliers, but as symptomatic of the inherent injustices within the American political system, and U.S. society as a whole. Especially at LC, where most students lean left, we must hold all politicians accountable, even Democratic ones that we tend to agree with. There is no moral high ground to be found across either side of the aisle when the structure that creates inequality still stands, and we must hold all politicians to the same standard. While I found comfort in Cuomo’s stoic facade throughout the summer, it does not mean that I, or any other Democrat, can justify or try to explain away his intolerable actions. The Democratic Party, especially older politicians, need to bring empathy back into politics by putting people before party.
This article presents opinions held by the author, not those of The Pioneer Log, its editorial board or those interviewed for background information.