President Donald Trump usually has good political instincts, but he didn’t get it when it comes to Virginia’s latest political “scandal.”
“African-Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virginia,” President Trump tweeted on Sunday, after Governor Ralph Northam refused to resign after being busted for appearing in blackface in a yearbook photo. In fact, however, a new poll shows almost 60 percent of black Virginians want Northam to remain in office. [Nearly 60 percent of Virginia’s African-Americans want Gov. Northam to remain in office: poll, by Louis Casiano, Fox News, February 10, 2019] The only people who want him to resign are whites. And Northam is using the “scandal” as an opportunity to double down on far-left politics.
In contrast to naïve whites, Virginia’s black voters get it—Governor Northam is now entirely dependent on their goodwill and this gives them great power. Ludicrously, Northam is embarking on a kind of one-man “struggle session,” reading the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates and promising to destroy Virginia’s Confederate monuments. [Reeling from blackface furor, Northam vows to ‘take a harder line’ on Confederate monuments, by Katelyn Caralle, Associated Press, February 9, 2019]
Virginia’s Democrat Attorney General, Mark Herring, has also admitted to wearing blackface at a college party. However, he too has not resigned. And Herring’s apology has also been met with calls for the incident to be turned into a “teachable moment” [Kurtis Blow responds to Va. Attorney General’s Apology for 80’s Blackface Photo, by Ibn Safir, The Root, February 8, 2019] This likely translates into more government-subsidized indoctrination in white guilt, removal of Confederate and white monuments, and racial redistribution of wealth.
Needless to say, Governor Northam’s yearbook photo never would have come to light if it had been up to the Main Stream Media. The Dissident Right website BigLeaguePolitics broke the story. The Washington Post went so far as to harass Republican Ed Gillespie’s neighbors during his 2017 gubernatorial campaign against Northam, the paper didn’t do anything that might have negatively affected its Democrat pet. [Gillespie’s neighbor slams Washington Post reporters for stalking her family, by Cameron Cawthorne, Washington Free Beacon, October 27, 2017]
But of course the bias of the MSM is a given. More telling: though Ed Gillespie is former head of the Republican National Committee, his opposition research either missed this obvious evidence or refused to use it. The blackface photo could have ensured Gillespie’s victory during a campaign; now, it does nothing to endanger Democrat control of Virginia. Either way, Gillespie’s fumble shows how the GOP Establishment, though skilled at sinking the campaigns of conservatives, can’t even manage the basics of electioneering when competing against Democrats.
The Establishment Right is similarly hapless. Many Conservatism Inc. activists, always eager to operate according to the Left’s principles, have been gleefully tweeting in recent days that the scandal “proved” Dinesh D’Souza’s contention that the “racist strain” remains in the Democrat party. [‘Politically correct reign of terror’ is taking Virginia by storm, by Kathryn Blackhurst, LifeZette, February 8, 2019] To take just one example, Katrina Pierson (a person of color) mocked Democrat women for looking like Klansmen at the State of the Union when they all wore white. [Trump campaign aide compares Democrats wearing white to KKK: ‘The only thing missing is the white hood,’ by Clark Mindock, The Independent, February 7, 2019]
Yet no one seriously buys that the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the Klan. Indeed, the scandal has already turned against Republicans. The same Main Stream Media that somehow managed to overlook Democrat Governor Northam’s blackface photo is now crusading against Republican State Senator Tommy Norment for editing a yearbook in 1968 that used images and comments that are now deemed racially offensive. [Top Va. Republican Senator Edited 1968 Yearbook With Blackface Photos, Racial Slurs, by Whittney Evans and Colin Dwyer, NPR, February 7, 2019]
The witch hunt is even expanding outside Virginia. Republican Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves is under attack because members of his fraternity supposedly appeared in blackface in his yearbook. The Kappa Alpha fraternity has also long used Confederate symbols, which, in the Current Year, constitutes a scandal. [Blackface scandal spreads to Mississippi and its Republican gubernatorial candidate, by Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine, February 8, 2019]
Of course, in neither of these cases is there any evidence that State Senator Norment in Virginia or Lt. Governor Tate in Mississippi ever appeared in blackface. Even while groveling and denouncing blackface, State Senator Norment claimed that he hadn’t actually done anything himself. [Virginia Senate majority leader distances himself from racist content in yearbook he edited, by Dan Merica, CNN, February 8, 2019] The whole witch-hunt is pure guilt by association.
However, it is now being established that mere membership in a fraternity or remaining silent in the face of “racism” (as “racism” is defined decades later) are both “scandals” when it comes to politicians. Eventually, they will become “scandals” when it comes to anyone who holds a job. We’re only a few years away from people losing their careers for being in a yearbook or a group where someone else made an edgy joke. Already, thanks to GoFundMe (a website that nationalists are not allowed to use), non-white students are being paid to look through yearbooks to try to get people fired.
As one black female student at Yale bragged from her Affirmative Action pedestal, “I’m watching you, white boy”. [Yale University Student Newspaper: “I’m watching you, white boy,” by Alana Mastrangelo, Breitbart, February 9, 2019]
This is a battle American patriots can’t possibly win, because the Left controls the terms of the debate and the ever-metastasizing definition of “racism.”
Furthermore, as Governor Northam shows, a leftist can always evade the “racism” charge by turning it against white people generally. Thus, Northam’s efforts at repentance involve no sacrifices by him, but instead commit him to use his position of power to punish other Southern whites.
This is similar to how a white professor denounces “white privilege,” not to undermine his own privileged position, but that of white working class and middle-class communities.
The correct tactic is for Republicans: attack all Politically Correct feeding frenzies. There is certainly no need to back down on Confederate monuments. Defending them in Virginia is a majority position. Nonwhite voters also support leaving Confederate memorials up by a plurality of 48 to 42 percent according to a June 2018 Quinnipiac University poll. [Majority of Virginia voters support leaving Confederate monuments alone, by Brian Tynes, NBC 12, June 26, 2018]
This fight is coming whether Republicans want it or not. The Virginia GOP will presumably be pinned down in fights over renaming Jefferson Davis Highway and removing various statues of Robert E. Lee and Confederate soldiers [Jefferson Davis Highway becomes Richmond Highway—on Google, by Katelyn Caralle, Washington Examiner, January 15, 2019].
Declaring frantically that “Democrats are the real racists” isn’t going to work. Instead, these demands for “racial sensitivity” should be denounced as a transparent power grab.
There is of course a different situation taking place in Virginia with Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. A black man patronizingly described by neocon queen Jennifer Rubin as “eloquent,” Fairfax seemed poised to become governor until he was #MeTooed by accusations of sexual assault and even rape. Fairfax denies any wrongdoing and says he welcomes an investigation. A move to impeach him seems to have stalled Monday. [Virginia delegate backs down on calls to impeach Justin Fairfax, by Emily Tillet, CBS News, February 11, 2019} But Fairfax is still far from safe [Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax's Law Firm Places Him on Leave, 4 Staffers Resign Following 2nd Sexual Assault Allegation, Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, February 11, 2019].
Republicans are having great fun with this part of the situation, comparing the reticence of Democrats to discuss Fairfax with their eager condemnations of Brett Kavanaugh based on far flimsier evidence. The attempted character assassination of the Supreme Court Justice does seem to have proved to Republicans that these kinds of accusations are often a cynical political tactic. The real question: when will Republicans will learn that accusations of “racism” can be equally contrived.
The GOP must learn how to fight back against race-based attacks.
And Governor Northam’s survival shows that claiming “Democrats are the real racists,” isn’t going to cut it, especially among blacks.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.