The NY Times published a piece today about the trio of scandals that overwhelmed Virginia in February. It’s a curious fact that after numerous Democrats called for the resignation of Gov. Northam (over a blackface yearbook photo) and Lt. Gov. Fairfax (over alleged sexual assault), both men are still in office and seem to have no intentions of leaving.
In the space of a week in early February, the public was stunned by revelations about each of the three highest statewide elected officials, all Democrats: the racist photo in the governor’s yearbook; accusations of sexual assault against the lieutenant governor; and the attorney general’s appearance in blackface at a party in college. Protesters and news crews swarmed the Statehouse. Calls for resignations came from fellow Virginia Democrats, Republicans and even 2020 presidential candidates.
And then? “It just went poof,” said Natalie Draper, a librarian sitting in the back of a coffeehouse last week in Richmond. “It’s like it never happened.”
How did this happen? The real answer seems to be that Democrats in Virginia decided they might be better off ignoring the scandal than caring about it:
Whatever may happen in the 2021 election for governor, every seat in the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly will be up this November, and Democrats have a chance to take back power in at least one chamber of the legislature. That will be hard enough now, given the bales of fodder Republicans now have for attack ads. But the idea of trying to raise money and hold rallies while spurning the three highest officeholders in the state came to be seen by many Democrats as just a needless handicap.
Betsy Carr, a Democratic delegate, said shortly after stepping off the stage last week with Mr. Northam that voters “want to move on.” “They want positive things to happen, they’re concerned about the elections,” she said.