Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Must Resign, And Gives America An African American Successor, Justin Fairfax

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been exposed as having participated in the posting of a photogragh in his medical school yearbook in 1984, in which he is posing with another student, one wearing black face, and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and mask, leading to demands for his resignation.

This whole situation is sad, as Northam was elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in November 2017, after serving as Lieutenant Governor, being in the state legislature, having had a medical career, and given eight years to the Army Medical Corp.

Northam was seen as a moderate left Governor, and seemed to be a decent man who would serve the one term allowed Virginia Governors, with no ability to be reelected, due to constitutional bars for a second consecutive term.

But the situation requires immediate resignation, as Northam has lost the confidence of the Virginia voters, and cannot use the excuse of “a youthful indiscretion”, since he was 25 years old at the time of the yearbook photo in 1984.

Certainly, Northam has worked to promote racial reconciliation after the despicable Charlottesville riot in 2017, while he was running for the Governorship, and himself, attended a desegregated high school where the majority of students were African Americans.

No one is saying he is an open racist now, and yet we have an open racist in President Donald Trump, who said both sides in Charlottesville contained decent people, an outrage in trying to call Ku Klux Klan white supremacists as having equality with those protesting racial inequities.

Truthfully, while Ralph Northam needs to resign, Donald Trump, for his long and consistent racism, nativism, misogyny, and praise of white supremacists should also resign, but we cannot be that lucky, unfortunately.

When Republicans are accused of inappropriate behavior, they always manage to move past it and stay in office, while Democrats are always in a position to be forced out, as with Al Franken on the accusations, never fully investigated, of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct with women.

The only good result of Northam’s eventual resignation is that Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, an African American, who graduated Duke University and Columbia University Law School, and is seen as the future of the Democratic Party, as he will turn age 40 on February 17, would succeed Northam as Governor. He would be the second African American governor of the state, after Douglas Wilder, and the fourth African American governor in modern times.

He worked in several Democratic Presidential campaigns, and was a “body man” for Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards in the Presidential campaign of 2004. He also worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a law clerk for a federal judge, and also as a prosecutor.

While Virginia only allows one term for Governor, a succession by Fairfax would not eliminate the possibility of an elected term in 2021, so Fairfax could be Governor of Virginia for nearly seven years. That would make him an historic figure, and give him the opportunity to become a national fiture, and potentially a future Democratic contender for the Presidency in 2024 or 2028.

Only one former Governor, Mills Godwin, was able to serve two nonconsecutive terms as Governor of Virginia, as a Democrat from 1966-1970 and as a Republican from 1974-1978.

47 comments on “Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Must Resign, And Gives America An African American Successor, Justin Fairfax

  1. Princess Leia February 2, 2019 10:31 am

    We were rather shocked when we heard about this on the news last night.

    If he resigns, thank goodness he’ll be handing over reigns of power to a Democrat. In Virginia, the lieutenant governor can wind up being of a different party than the governor, as they are elected separately and not as running mates on the same ticket.

  2. Southern Liberal February 2, 2019 11:23 am

    If Justin Fairfax becomes the Governor, who would become the Lt Governor?

  3. Southern Liberal February 2, 2019 11:31 am

    Rustbelt – Thanks for the info about the vacancy.

  4. Ronald February 2, 2019 11:33 am

    But, the Virginia State Senate President is a Republican, Stephen Newman, sorry to say, so if Fairfax becomes Governor, and then is forced out or leaves for any reason, a Republican would finish the term! 🙁

  5. Princess Leia February 2, 2019 11:36 am

    It’s true we would lose our “break the tie” vote in the Senate. However, the Virginia Constitution specifies that if the LG slot is empty and something were to happen to Governor Justin Fairfax, the AG Mark Herring becomes Governor.

  6. Princess Leia February 2, 2019 11:47 am

    In the case of the removal of the Governor from office or in the case of his disqualification, death, or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor.
    If a vacancy exists in the office of Lieutenant Governor when the Lieutenant Governor is to succeed to the office of Governor or to serve as Acting Governor, the Attorney General, if he is eligible to serve as Governor, shall succeed to the office of Governor for the unexpired term or serve as Acting Governor.

  7. Ronald February 2, 2019 11:47 am

    Really, Princess Leia? You live in Virginia, so I give you the upper hand on details, but my impression was that Stephen Newman, the President Pro Tempore of the Virginia Senate, would become Governor, changing the party in the Governorship.

  8. Ronald February 2, 2019 11:50 am

    Yes, Princess Leia, I now see what you said, and looked it up at about the same time as you did.

    So the Democrats would keep the Governorship even if Fairfax had to leave for any reason.

    Thanks so much for the clarification!

  9. Pragmatic Progressive February 2, 2019 11:55 am

    The best explanation for why this information came out now – Basically, that this had to have been anti-abortion activists, probably found it after Northam’s comments on WTOP earlier this week about third-trimester abortion etc. The anti-abortion activists probably went to look for dirt about Northam at EVMS (e.g., his medical background), found the yearbook photos and gave it to the rightwing blog. The photo was then confirmed as real by local news and not a photo shop.

  10. Ronald February 2, 2019 11:59 am

    Yes, the right wing is vicious, and I experienced a minor such situation years ago on this blog, when I criticized Paul Ryan, criticized nativists, and called for gun regulations. I had a lot of nasty emails and was written about on THE BLAZE!

    But one cannot give in to the hate mongers, as is now happening with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, new women members of minority background in the House of Representatives!

  11. Rational Lefty February 2, 2019 12:10 pm

    If it’s not him in the picture, then why he’d cop to it yesterday? Something doesn’t add up here.

  12. Princess Leia February 2, 2019 12:16 pm

    It doesn’t matter whether he was in that photo or not. Unless EVMS has some really weird and awful policy of putting incendiary photos on people’s graduation pages totally out of context, Ralph chose to have that photo on his page.

  13. Former Republican February 2, 2019 12:28 pm

    There appear to be four possible explanations:
    1) He’s one of the people in that photo AND okay’d its publication – gotta resign
    2) He’s one of the people in that photo but didn’t okay its publication – still gotta resign
    3) He’s NOT one of the people in that photo but okay’d its publication on his personal page – very confusing, probably should resign
    4) He’s not in that photo and he had no idea the publisher of the yearbook was going to put a photo of two other random people doing something horribly offensive and wrong on Ralph’s page – also confusing, and bad, but he stays in office with this stain on his character and past.

    Those are really the only four possibilities I can think of. And he needs to tell us the truth like, 10 minutes ago.

  14. Pragmatic Progressive February 2, 2019 6:38 pm

    In addition to the photo, it was revealed during the press conference that he had a racial nickname in his college yearbook.

  15. D February 3, 2019 10:39 am

    Remember: The Democratic Party Establishment backed Ralph Northam for the 2017 Democratic nomination for Governor of Virginia. (Northam voted for both of George W. Bush’s presidential elections. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem for the corporate Democratic Party Establishment. They like Bush now. This includes Michelle Obama.),_2017

    “[Ralph] Northam was endorsed by a broad selection of Virginia politicians, including sitting governor Terry McAuliffe, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Representatives Bobby Scott, Donald McEachin, and Don Beyer.[6] Northam also secured the unanimous nomination of the Democratic caucuses in the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia State Senate.”

  16. Southern Liberal February 3, 2019 12:05 pm

    Thank you for that Leia and Pragmatic. That’s why I’m so torn about this issue.

  17. D February 3, 2019 12:37 pm

    ‘Where people stand on whether Ralph Northam should resign’

    * * *

    Terry McAuliffe, former Virginia governor and Northam’s predecessor: “Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and any time. The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It’s time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward.”

    * * *

    Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News: “After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign. Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders. He should step down and allow the Commonwealth to begin healing.”

    * * *

    ‘McEachin Statement Calling for Ralph Northam’s Resignation’

    Press Release (02.01.2019)

    “I [Don McEachin] am so deeply disappointed and dismayed by the horrific picture of Governor Northam that surfaced today. Four hundred years ago, Africans arrived in this country, enslaved and kept as slaves for over two hundred years. Systemic racism is still endemic today in every part of America. Virginia has a particularly sordid history with racism from the first enslaved Africans on our shores, to the capital of the Confederacy to Massive resistance to the struggles African-American Virginians face today.

    “In light of that stain on our Commonwealth and the work that still needs to be done, I ask the governor to step aside. While I acknowledge his efforts on behalf of all Virginians and the good he has done as a senator, as our lieutenant governor and now as governor, Virginians have too much to overcome and too much healing yet in front of us.”

    * * *

    Virginia Senate Democrats: “We stand with our colleagues in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in continuing to call for Governor Northam’s resignation. … He is no longer the best person to lead our state through the healing process. We feel it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth that he resigns.”

    * * *

    Democratic Party of Virginia: “We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign. He no longer has our confidence or our support. Governor Northam must end this chapter immediately, step down, and let Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax heal Virginia’s wounds and move us forward.”

  18. Princess Leia February 3, 2019 1:55 pm

    Southern Liberal – The rest of us are torn about it as well.

  19. Rustbelt Democrat February 3, 2019 5:58 pm

    Question: Did the school officials know content like that was being put into the yearbook by the students?

    Another question: What happened to the vetting process during either the primary or the general election? Did nobody think to do opposition research?

  20. Former Republican February 4, 2019 11:09 am

    Can facial recognition software be used to determine if it is him?

  21. Ronald February 4, 2019 11:10 am

    Hmmm, interesting question, Former Republican!

  22. Rational Lefty February 4, 2019 4:49 pm

    Any bets on how long it takes until they smear Herring?

  23. Ronald February 6, 2019 1:47 pm

    Princess Leia, this is becoming totally ridiculous!

    I hate to say it, but I am now thinking that racist behavior 35-39 years ago should be condemned, but not cause removal from office as both Northam and Herring have demonstrated that they are not racists in the long term past later on in their lives.

    I think the purpose of the right wing is to destroy the one Democratic run old South state, taking away the vote of the people.

    On the other hand, if Fairfax is shown to have assaulted this college professor woman, that is more serious.

    And yet, if Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh could get away with it, not sure that should be grounds for resignation, either.

    I am still upset that Minnesota Senator Al Franken resigned too quickly over the charges lodged against him, and the reason I remain furious with NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and hope she will fail in her Presidential bid!

  24. Rational Lefty February 6, 2019 1:53 pm

    If all 3 go, 4th in line is a Republican! 🙁

  25. Ronald February 6, 2019 2:03 pm

    Rational Lefty, precisely why that would be a violation of the election results, and should NOT be permitted!

    To me, it is another example of the Republicans “stealing” the election, as I feel they did with Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016.

    With their racist record, they cannot be allowed to get away with that!

  26. Former Republican February 6, 2019 4:59 pm

    My opinion on this: Northam should resign just because his response was so bad, and it doesn’t seem like he fully understands what he did wrong. Herring, on the other hand, was younger and seems to fully understand that what he did was wrong. His response was much better than Northam’s. With Fairfax, until and unless more accusers come forth, I don’t think he should resign. There should definitely be an investigation into this, but if the accusations can’t be substantiated, then he shouldn’t resign.

  27. Pragmatic Progressive February 6, 2019 5:01 pm

    I think the photo standing beside someone in a KKK outfit is more offensive than dressing up as your favorite rapper.

  28. Princess Leia February 11, 2019 1:30 pm

    Northam didn’t help himself with the “indentured servants” gaffe.

  29. Ronald February 11, 2019 3:19 pm

    Princess Leia, exactly, and shows he is ignorant of history! 🙁

  30. Former Republican February 12, 2019 1:36 pm

    Now I regret not voting for Tom Perriello in the primary.

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