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Who can tell the difference? – Reason.com

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Who can tell the difference?  – Reason.com

An openly corrupt elected official with a propensity for groping women, a legion of fanatics who routinely excuse his excesses, and a face that can be taken as a symbol of his political tribe, you know who I’m talking about, right? Or maybe not. This is politics here, and sociopaths who perform to the worship of crowds seem to go with the territory. To be honest, I could be referring to the governor of New York. Andrew Cuomo or former President Donald Trump, two despicable people who represent their respective parties and the deep rottenness of this country.

That Cuomo and Trump can be confused without clarification is not surprising; both emerged from New York’s rotten political and business swamp, which has long had a well-deserved reputation for corruption. It is hilariously summarized in the 1986 film. Back to school, in which Rodney Dangerfield’s character offers a naive professor a riff on how business is done in the real world.

“First, you’ll have to grease local politicians for the sudden zoning problems that always crop up,” Dangerfield begins, before monologue on similar lines about paying unions, building inspectors and organized crime.

That’s just a fictional version of the world in which Trump’s father, “Fred Trump, made millions building apartments in Brooklyn and Queens,” as described in 2015 by Michael Barone. “It didn’t hurt, when it came to the land assembly and public subsidies, that he was a key supporter of the Brooklyn Machine Democrats and a close friend and ally of Abraham Beame, city comptroller in 1964 and then mayor “.

Later, Donald himself boasted that he could buy a United States Senator for $ 200,000 and established a long story of donations, loans and payments to politicians from whom he sought and received favors. He was direct about what he expected in return.

“As a businessman and a very important donor to very important people, when you give, they do what you want them to do,” Trump said. He said The Wall Street Journal in 2015.

Cuomo is a bit different: instead of buying politicians, he is a politician who buys himself.

“Joseph Percoco, a former senior adviser and confidant to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was convicted … of three felonies after taking over $ 300,000 from companies doing business with the state,” The Magazine news reported in 2018. “Percoco, of South Salem, Westchester County, spent more than two decades as one of Cuomo’s closest friends and workers, serving as the campaign manager for Cuomo’s two successful gubernatorial elections and his executor as an assistant. for much of his time in office. “

You might expect Percoco to have some stories to tell about the governor, but Cuomo and company continue channel money to you silently to support his family and pay more than $ 1 million in legal fees.

Even in New York, look for behavior giveaways Some attention. Triumph testified about his political spending and what he expected to receive in return before the State Government Integrity Commission in 1988. In 2014, Cuomo close a corruption investigation (the Moreland Commission) when they strayed too far from their political allies.

But that’s not what appears to be about to finally bring down Cuomo. Instead, his Achilles heel may turn out to be his penchant for treating women like toys.

“The investigation found that the sexual harassment of several women by Governor Cuomo and the retaliation by him and the Executive Chamber against a former employee for filing her complaints of sexual harassment violated several state and federal laws,” said the attorney general of Nueva York, Letitia James. announced last week.

In this, Cuomo shares his habits with Trump, who has long been persecuted for accusations of predatory sexual behavior towards women; last year, ABC News counted 18 women that “they have accused Donald Trump of various inappropriate behavior, including accusations of sexual harassment or sexual assault.” Nor is it the behavior you are ashamed of.

“Fuck ’em by the pussy. You can do anything,” Trump infamously boasted in comments captured by the camera in 2005 about what he could get away with as a celebrity.

If allegations of sexual harassment are what ultimately torpedo Cuomo, it is a testament to how resilient political popularity can be to reality. Even after years of corruption scandals and boiling uproar about your order forcing COVID-19 patients into nursing homes To infect other sick and elderly residents, the governor maintained rock star popularity. Famous fans of the politician labeled themselves “Cuomosexuals“and a warning piece in the Columbia Journalism Magazine He urged journalists covering the “luv guv” to be more skeptical. The public embraced the cult of personality, and a majority of New York voters and three-quarters of Democrats continued to support Cuomo. as recently as march.

Trump also retains great popularity with his base despite its glaring flaws, still drawing crowds to rallies across the country. Up to 66 percent of Republicans want seek a return to the White House in 2024.

In Cuomo’s case, at least, the glow seems to come from the bad apple. Not just New York lawmakers finally pursue impeachment charges against the creature that has long dominated state politics, but voters seem to be done with it too.

“Voters in New York think that 70 to 25 percent of Andrew Cuomo should resign as governor,” said a Quinnipiac survey reported last week, including majority support even among Democrats. Voters are also in favor of indicting and prosecuting him.

How the mighty Cuomo has fallen, from an unhealthy cult of personality just a few months ago to a belatedly disappointed audience eager to put him aside after one too many scandal. It is a change of attitude towards skepticism and contempt that should be applied to a lot more political figures, including Trump. These are not just flawed figures; They are corrupt people who abuse power and use the people around them for fun and enrichment.

But reality shouldn’t have taken so long to penetrate the public consciousness. That only now dents are appearing in popular support for Cuomo, and that Trump’s position is held secure with such a large part of the population, is evidence not only of the shortcomings of these political actors, but of the deep rotting that ensues. lies at the heart of American politics. culture.

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