By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) About a year ago, Virginia Democrats and party leaders from around the country were demanding that Gov. Ralph Northam resign.
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The demand came after a medical school yearbook photo surfaced of him either in “blackface” or dressed in a KKK outfit.
Full statement demanding that Governor Northam resign immediately. pic.twitter.com/XEf0H6HvOf
— Virginia Democrats (@vademocrats) February 2, 2022
“Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), tweeted.
“It doesn’t matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. This behavior was racist and unconscionable. Governor Northam should resign,” Rep. Julian Castro (D-Texas) said.
The NAACP also called on Northam to step down.
“Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we can not stand for such behavior, which is why the NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam,” said NAACP president Derrick Johnson.
Northam’s nickname at the Virginia Military Institute, where he attended before medical school, was “Coonman.”
The Root politics editor and MSNBC contributor Dr. Jason Johnson of Morgan State University said Friday during an interview on the network he wasn’t sure that Northam would be able to survive a scandal of this magnitude.
“I don’t know that Northam will be able to survive this kind of scandal because this probably won’t be the only thing that comes up,” Johnson said.
That was then. After Northam pretended to be contrite and humble for a few months, the next thing you know, his party managed to win back control of the state Legislature for the first time in years.
Now Democrats control all levers of power in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And this episode has simply faded away because Democrats are monumental hypocrites.
As Fox News reports:
Cut to January 2020, and Northam is still in office, leading Democrats who have taken control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1996.
Northam is rehabilitating himself within the party, in large part by championing liberal policies on issues including gun control and marijuana. Proposed gun restrictions include an assault weapons ban, an increase in the minimum age for gun purchases, and required background checks for all sales.
The governor even increased the state’s corrections budget to handle what he expects to be a higher number of incarcerations due to new gun laws.
The Virginia gun control push has drawn national attention, including from gun-rights groups. As Democrats prepared to assume control in Richmond heading into 2020, the proposals led more than 100 Virginia cities, towns, and counties to declare themselves “gun sanctuaries.”
Regarding marijuana, Northam has pushed for decriminalization as part of criminal justice reforms that would also raise the age at which people can be tried as adults and increase the amount needed for a theft to be deemed a felony.
Northam’s initiatives and time in the spotlight essentially mark a return from the political dead — but he benefited in part, ironically, from other scandals in his administration.
First, in the days following the yearbook photo controversy, Fairfax – who was next in line – faced sexual assault allegations from two women. He denied them. On top of that, state Attorney General Mark Herring, who would have been in line after Fairfax, admitted that he also wore blackface in the 1980s when he was 19 years old.
If all three men were pushed into resignation, the governorship would have gone to Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox, a Republican. Virginia Democrats ultimately dropped the calls for Northam’s resignation, and also backed off calls for Fairfax’s impeachment.
Because…of course they would. Better to shirk your morals and drop your standards rather than surrender power.
The next time some Democrat tries to lecture you about how Republicans are the ones who tolerate and promote racism and bigotry, remember Ralph “Coonman” Northam.
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