Friday will mark a milestone for Andrew Cuomo: It will be six weeks to the day from when the majority of New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, as well as both of its US senators, called on him to resign over multiple allegations of sexual harassment by former staffers.
Cuomo, as you may have noticed, is still the governor of New York. And he has shown zero signs of leaving – even as the focus of the political world has moved on from him as other events have grabbed the spotlight.
According to Google Trends, search interest in the terms “Andrew Cuomo resign” peaked the week of February 28-March 6 and has been generally on a decline ever since. Early returns on this week’s search interest suggest searches for “Andrew Cuomo resign” are much lower.
Reporters are still asking Cuomo about his future plans. On Wednesday, he was asked whether he would resign if the ongoing investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James concludes that he broke any laws.
“Let’s see what the review says and we’ll take it from there,” Cuomo said, adding: “I’m not going to have any comment on a review that’s underway beyond that.”
James has not offered any timeline for when her investigation will wrap up. The New York Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is also conducting its own look into the allegations made against Cuomo.
Cuomo, meanwhile, continues to lead the state’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which last fall led to wide praise for him and talk of a potential national run down the line. He was visiting a vaccination site in Yonkers on Wednesday, for example.
Recent polling suggests that there is no real urgent desire among New Yorkers for him to go. Fifty percent said Cuomo should not immediately resign in a Siena College poll released last month, while just 35% said he should go immediately. And 48% said he could continue to serve as governor effectively even amid the controversies. Just 34% said he had been rendered ineffective.
None of this is to say that Cuomo has fully survived this scandal. At some point, the investigations will wrap up – and offer their conclusions. And Republicans are falling all over themselves to take him on next November (if he runs for a fourth term).
But what all of it does prove is that we have short political attention spans. And that if a politician can weather the initial furor – and calls for him (or her) to resign – they can nearly always stay in office far longer than it might look when scandals break.
The Point: Look over there! It’s a(nother) shiny object!