Ralph Northam Is Just A Small Piece Of The Shift In Race Politics In The Trump Era

The Virginia governor is a man on an island, and people in both parties are calling for him to step down. But how the parties have handled race in the Trump era is very different.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, with his wife, Pam, speaks with reporters at a news conference Saturday in Richmond, Va. Source: Alex Edelman

The clock seems to be ticking for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The highest reaches of the Democratic Party inside and outside the state have said he should resign over a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page from 1984. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, presidential candidates and, perhaps most important, both of Virginia's senators and its longest-serving black representative all said Northam should step aside.

Northam didn't help himself Saturday with a news conference in which he compounded matters. He denied he was in the photo — after first apologizing for it Friday — and then said he had used shoe polish to darken his face to look like Michael Jackson for a dance party in the 1980s.

He had learned to moonwalk, he said. What do

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
'The Righteous Gemstones' Takes Aim At Megachurch Millionaires
In the HBO comedy created by and starring Danny McBride, a powerful preacher and his adult children are very poor examples to their flock.
NPR2 min read
Shannon Bond Joins NPR's Business Desk
In a note to newsroom staff, Chief Business Editor Pallavi Gogoi announced the following staffing update: I'm delighted to announce that Shannon Bond is joining NPR as Technology Correspondent, based in Silicon Valley. Shannon currently covers techno
NPR4 min readPolitics
In Zimbabwe, An Economic Crisis With 175% Inflation Drives Discontent
Protests took place Friday. Power cuts can last up to 18 hours a day. About a third of Zimbabwe's population needs food aid, due to drought and the worsening economy, the U.N. says.