Editorials

Ideologies and Priorities

Now here’s a headline: “Blackface, sexual assault scandals don’t appear to have tarnished Virginia’s image,” the Washington Post declared on March 3.  The story referred to controversies surrounding each of the commonwealth’s three top statewide officials—all of them Democrats.  Gov. Ralph Northam came under pressure to resign after the conservative website Big League Politics discovered that Northam’s pages in his 1984 medical-school yearbook included a photograph of a man in blackface standing next to one in a Klan outfit.  Northam scrambled to apologize at first, then claimed that he was not actually either of the men in the picture, but admitted that he had indeed worn blackface once when impersonating Michael Jackson for a dance contest.  Northam refused to resign, but Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax, a black man himself, had every reason to think he would soon be in the governor’s mansion.  Until, that is, two women came forward to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault—accusations he denied and that he claimed were somehow stirred up by Northam in an attempt to stay in office.

This might have left the number-three state official, Attorney Gen. Mark Herring, measuring drapes ahead of his surefire rise to the top spot, except that Herring also had an embarrassing blackface story, this one involving an impression of 1980’s rapper...

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