A roadmap towards the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

About 50 years ago, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a treatise on death and death, outlining five progressive stages of grief and recovery.

These stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – apply to great political loss as well as personal tragedy. We often see it when public servants really get it wrong. Unless they make a fatal blunder in public or commit a crime they cannot avoid with lawyers, the typical president, governor, or congressman will find ways to postpone the consequences at least. for a certain time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, accused of sexual harassment by at least 11 women, is on the first rung of that Kubler-Ross ladder. He denies everything and probably hopes to hold on. You can’t be a governor, especially not in the Empire State, without being a fierce fighter.

In fact, in addition to scaring off female employees, the charges against Cuomo include being a bully and intimidating staff, lawmakers, and anyone who dares to question his badass techniques.

In addition to denying the infractions, the governor insists that he has no intention of resigning. This brings him to the second stage of the Kubler-Ross progression, anger.

His anger is understandable. True or false, the accusations destroyed a long and successful career and tarnished his personal reputation. In addition, powerful men often feel entitled to treat staff like toys. (And, yes, with sexual harassment, it’s still men.)

Moving beyond denial and anger, Cuomo must have “negotiated” until a reflex. Calculations are against him in the State Assembly, but governors have ways of negotiating, negotiating, and persuading – also known as twisting their arms.

Do you want this highway for your neighborhood? Does your brother want to be a judge, or maybe you would like a sweet and sure sinecure when you leave the legislature? We have a bunch of wealthy donors who aren’t sure if they’ll support you or your opponent next year, so maybe….

Or maybe the governor’s folks know things some New York lawmakers hope their constituents won’t hear, involving their own finances or pelvic affiliates.

Impeachment may be a done deal in the assembly, but it takes 46 of 69 votes in a Senate lawsuit to impeach Cuomo. He must therefore find 24 loyalists to survive.

After the denial, anger, and bargaining, it’s unclear if Cuomo would reach a stage of depression. The New York Pols aren’t a terribly introspective bunch, and Cuomo isn’t exactly Hamlet on the Hudson. But it must be deflating for a man who has tasted so much praise for so long to find himself alone and abandoned.

Leading Democrats like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Assembly Speaker and Party Chairman are in favor of the resignation. New York City newspapers, as well as the Washington Post, condemned him in editorials. The governors of four neighboring states signed a joint letter urging Cuomo to step down.

The only thing that could make matters worse would be for Donald Trump to issue a statement saying, “Well, this guy is doing stuff like me. “

It seems Cuomo is on the right track to political oblivion.

We’ve seen it with Richard Nixon, first denying everything about Watergate, then negotiating to throw that close associate, then that one, overboard – rendering first the transcriptions of his recordings, then the tapes. overwhelming themselves. We saw him with Bill Clinton, waving his finger to say, “I haven’t had sex with that woman, Mrs. Lewinski,” until he was reduced to quibbling over the meaning of the word. ” is “.

We have had small-caliber scandals in Florida. The common response is always, first, to deny everything, and then to negotiate an outcome with a selfish statement about sparing the people the trauma of impeachment, followed by civil or criminal trials.

It must be on Cuomo’s mind. Some of the 11 women have signaled their intention to sue for discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. A New York prosecutor asked Attorney General Letitia James for all the evidence gathered during his investigation.

Losing his job, whether he’s jumping or being pushed, could be the least of Cuomo’s worries.


Bill Cotterell is a retired Democratic Capitol Tallahassee reporter who writes a twice weekly column. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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