A photo, found on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page, went viral. It was of a person in black-face next to another in a Ku Klux Klan sheet. In almost no time at all, Democrats and others quickly demanded that the governor resign.
Why the speed?
The already-started presidential campaign?
Or the likelihood that Democrats would experience no disadvantage should their governor step down?
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, an up-and-comer in the Democratic Party, would take Northam’s place. And under Virginia’s gubernatorial term limits, Fairfax could run again for a full term after finishing the rest of this current term.
With Virginia’s one-term limit, it would allow a rare option to run as an incumbent.
There’s a speed bump, though. Not necessarily the sexual assault allegation lodged against Fairfax, which he denies . . . and about which we know little. What’s certain? Fairfax is positioned far to the left of Northam — in a state that is still more purple than blue.
A bitter feud with Laborers’ International Union of North America illustrates the problem. Mr. Fairfax has long opposed two pipelines that the union desperately desires. The union — a donor of $600,000 to Democrats in 2017 — demanded that candidate Northam remove Fairfax’s name and picture from mailers to union households.
And got hit by charges of racism.
You see, Fairfax is black.
Playing down the dis, Fairfax called it a “mistake”; others chose “mindboggling,” a “slap in the face,” and a signal that blacks “are expendable.”
Northam still won . . . with 87 percent support from black voters.
Should Northam finish his term, Lt. Gov. Fairfax would remain well positioned, but the race would be wide open. If Fairfax becomes governor, however, no Democrat will challenge him for fear of splitting the party.
Yet, come 2021, Fairfax is too far left to defeat a decent Republican . . . should one appear.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.