Top Democrats In Line For Virginia Governor’s Office Embroiled In Scandal, Refuse To Step Down

Top Democrats In Line For Virginia Governor’s Office Embroiled In Scandal, Refuse To Step Down

Sadly, the message we are witnessing this week from Virginia’s top leaders is that racism and possible sexual assault are better alternatives than bipartisanship.
Britt McHenry
By

Three strikes, you’re out, Virginia.

It started with Gov. Ralph Northam. After a banner week of essentially championing infanticide while voicing his support for a late-term abortion bill, Northam had blackface photos surface inside his medical school yearbook. Initially, Northam apologized for the photo, where he was either depicted in blackface standing next to a Ku Klux Klan member or as the hooded racist.

The following day, Northam held a press conference. Despite the strong urging of his own Democratic Party, Northam did not resign. He opted instead to insist the photo was not him, despite  the words “Ralph Northam” emblazoned on the top of the yearbook page. Northam actually tried to excuse it by informing the press that he had worn blackface on another occasion to dress up like Michael Jackson, implying the KKK yearbook photo must be a case of mistaken identity. He even almost moonwalked.

Seriously. That happened.

In all of this, Northam maintained he would remain governor of Virginia. His lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, decried the alleged Northam photo, all but coming short of calling for Northam’s resignation. If Northam had resigned, or if he still does, Fairfax would be first in line and become the second black governor of the commonwealth.

Except he, too, found himself in controversy. A woman named Vanessa Tyson is accusing Fairfax of sexual assault during the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She even retained Katz Marshall and Banks, the same firm Christine Blasey Ford used in her allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

To top it off, NBC News is reporting that Fairfax used profane language in a confidential meeting on Monday night. Referring to Tyson, Fairfax is alleged to have said “F-ck that b-tch.” In a statement released afterward, Fairfax appears to have referenced that writing: “This has been an emotional couple of days for me and my family. And in my remarks on Monday, I think you could hear how emotional dealing with an allegation that I know is not true has been for me.”

It’s likely taken a toll on the accuser as well. But, alas, Virginia isn’t done with controversy among prominent Democrats.

Tuesday, it was reported that there’s a photo of Attorney General Mark Herring in blackface during a party in 1980. Like Northam, Herring had the audacity to blame the influence of rap and hip hop culture and said he dressed up like that “because of our ignorance and glib attitudes.”

Every one of us should know as a child that blackface is wrong. Stop blaming it on the past. In life, we all make mistakes and all deserve second chances; but not all of us are in charge of running a state comprised of constituents from all backgrounds. So, spare us the faux remarks aimed at protecting power rather than truth. This is all especially rich coming from a party whose leaders constantly demand relinquishment of power from their political opponents over any alleged racial and sexual indiscretions, no matter the amount of evidence available to bolster the charges or the level of the offense.

Just a few days ago, Herring sat from his lofty perch and condemned Northam for posing in blackface. He called for Northam to resign. Let’s go back even further: In the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election, Northam and his supporters had to actually pull an attack ad that accused opponent Ed Gillespie and Republicans of being racists—it was that negative. Yet appears the only racists in the bunch were the ones who got elected.

Gillespie must be cursing his opposition research team for not finding the scandals uncovered this week, or he is simply sipping tea and reveling in karma. However, who really suffers in this debacle are Virginians.

In their stubbornness against relinquishing power, all three Democrats are sabotaging the people they were elected to serve. It’s almost as if suddenly Democrats have become the arbitrators of acceptable forms of racial behavior. Identity politics might have helped get them elected, but they’re failing to serve the minorities and women this Democratic Party claims to so ardently defend.

If any of these men had a shred of integrity, they would either step down or step aside for the fourth person in line to the governorship, Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox. Of course, it’s a highly unlikely scenario given that he is Republican.

Sadly, the message we are witnessing this week from Virginia’s top leaders is that racism and possible sexual assault are better alternatives than bipartisanship. The state of Virginia, and all Americans, deserve better.

Britt McHenry is a journalist based in Washington DC. Follow her on Twitter @BrittMcHenry.
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