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Democrat Privilege: Virginia Gov and AG likely to survive Blackface Scandals

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Lt. Gov.’s Future less certain after sexual assault accusations, but he’s still hanging on.

What a difference going on groveling apology tours can make for Democrats.

Results from two recent Virginia polls show that Gov. Ralph Northam and AG Mark Herring have managed to survive the blackface scandals that rocked the state earlier this month. The sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, however, have divided the state on his fate.

CNN digs into the numbers:

Virginians are more likely to want their governor and attorney general to remain in office rather than resign over their past appearances in blackface, but they are split over whether their lieutenant governor should step down in light of sexual assault allegations, a new Quinnipiac University poll finds.

A 48% plurality of voters in the commonwealth say Gov. Ralph Northam should not resign while 42% say he should. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say he should not be impeached, though just 39% approve of the way he is handling his job while 44% disapprove.


Thirty-six percent say [Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax] should resign and 36% say he should remain in office, while 28% don’t say either way. There are more undecided Democrats (32%) than Republicans (21%) or independents (25%).

Still, 37% say they believe Fairfax’s accusers over his denials. Twelve percent believe Fairfax and 51% are undecided. There is almost no party gap on believing Fairfax’s accusers, though Democrats are a bit more apt to say they believe Fairfax than are Republicans or independents.

And a majority of Virginia voters (54%) say Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, should not resign while 22% say he should after he also admitted to once wearing blackface in the early 1980s.

An Ipsos/U-Va. poll showed similar results:

Of the three top Democrats, the new polls out Wednesday show Fairfax may be in the most peril. While a plurality in the Quinnipiac poll say Northam shouldn’t resign, and a 54 percent majority say Herring should remain in office — voters are split on Fairfax: 36 percent say the lieutenant governor should resign, and 36 percent say he shouldn’t.

In the Ipsos/U-Va. poll, more voters say Fairfax should resign, 35 percent, than say he shouldn’t, 25 percent. But roughly a third, 34 percent, say they aren’t sure.

Though Northam and Herring appear to have survived the backlash over their confessions, Democrats will have to be very careful not to put too much pressure on Fairfax to step aside in the era of #MeToo. It would give off a bad visual for the two white politicians with blackface issues in their past to skate free while the black politician gets targeted for removal from office over so-far-unproven sexual assault allegations.

The Quinnipiac poll shows it is black voters more than any other voting bloc who want all three to stay in office. Again from CNN:

Black voters are more apt to say each of the three should remain in office than resign (56% say Northam should not resign, 49% say so about Fairfax, 62% about Herring).

There are a number of things we can perhaps glean from these polls.

Could it be Virginia voters have had time to catch their breath, review all the publicly available information, and determine that in Northam’s and Herring’s cases both have been apologetic and contrite enough about racially insensitive incidents that occurred over 30 years ago? It’s possible.

Could it be Virginia voters have decided in Fairfax’s case that although the allegations (which, unlike Northam’s and Herring’s, are criminal in nature) are deeply disturbing he deserves the benefit of due process? Maybe.

Or could it simply be that Virginians have decided to hypocritically give Democrats the types of second chances that Republicans are only rarely allowed? That scenario is far more likely.

Especially when you consider how much emphasis national and local reporting has put on the fact that all three of the Democrats either resigning or being forced out of office means an evil Republican would be next in line to govern over the state.

The one issue that has been lost in all the coverage and speculation surrounding these scandals is that Gov. Northam’s extreme position on late-term abortion remains unchanged.

If Democrats manage to overcome the bad optics from all of these scandals and win enough seats to take control of both the state house and senate in the fall elections, that means Kathy Tran or someone like her can push through similar pro-abortion legislation which would effectively legalize infanticide-on-demand in the state.

Virginia Republicans cannot let this to happen.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

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