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“The fraught politics surrounding race, gender, and the #MeToo movement are creating a combustible challenge for Democrats that raises uncomfortable questions about their zero-tolerance policy towards any type of sexual misconduct, past or present—and threaten to prevent them from winning back control of the Virginia state legislature this November.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has given Democrats their worst political headache since losing the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump. Any photo of a politician wearing blackface is a massive political scandal—and would have been at any time or any place since the photo was taken in 1984. The only difference between the politics of today and the politics of the recent past is that Northam probably would have received more space from his party to apologize, make amends, and try to salvage a respectable political career.
Northam expected that his solid civil rights record, long-standing support from the black community, and praise for his reaction to Charlottesville (as a candidate) would sustain him during this scandal. Presumably that’s what he was thinking when he offered a taped apology seemingly acknowledging he was pictured in a medical-school yearbook wearing either blackface or a KKK hood and asking for forgiveness.
But Northam was utterly unprepared to handle the speed with which the news would spread and his closest political allies would call on him to resign. The day after the story broke, he gave a cringeworthy press conference in which he denied being pictured in the racist yearbook photo but acknowledged wearing blackface that same year imitating Michael Jackson at a dance party. This was damage control out of a sleepy state Senate race—not what you’d expect during a national political firestorm that swept talk of Trump’s State of the Union address out of the headlines.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Congratulations, Mr. President. It took an extraordinary effort, but you finally managed to spark a serious global crisis. I know you don’t like to share credit, but don’t worry. The current mess in the Middle East centered around Iran is all..."
"We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the nastiest political battles it has been my misfortune to witness—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault and his..."
"There are few one-offs in life on Earth—rarely can a single species boast a trait or ability that no other possesses. But human language is one such oddity. Our ability to use subtle combinations of sounds produced by our vocal cords to create..."
"He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I’m bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I’m..."
"The poverty rate in the United States fell to 11.8 percent in 2018, according to data released last week by the Census Bureau — the lowest it’s been since 2001. But this estimate significantly understates the extent of economic deprivation in..."
"Streaming is the future of TV. But for now a big part of the streaming business revolves around old TV shows. Latest case in point: Netflix is paying a lot of money for the rights to show Seinfeld to its 150 million subscribers around the world..."
"On the eve of the second Israeli election of 2019, there is no shortage of apocalyptic rhetoric about the potential consequences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. From the New York Times' editorial column to The Forward’s..."
"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."