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Democratic Candidate for Governor in Virginia Removes Black Running Mate From Campaign Literature

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Democratic Candidate for Governor in Virginia Removes Black Running Mate From Campaign Literature

Here’s your piece of “my God, the Democrats are so f***ing bad at politics” outrage for the day: Ralph Northam, Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, has removed his running mate Justin Fairfax from fliers that canvassers hand out door-to-door. Here’s a picture of the difference, from old to new:

A Monmouth poll that came out yesterday showed the race tightening in Virginia, where Northam, who had previously held a small lead, now seems to be in a dead heat with Ed Gillespie:

It’s tempting to think that Northam’s act of cowardice stems from fear that a black lieutenant governor will hurt him in a statewide race, but the issue seems to be about Fairfax’s refusal to support natural gas pipelines. Per Richmond.com:

In the Fairfax-free flier, created for the Democratic friendly Laborers’ International Union of North America, all references to Fairfax — including his picture — are gone. Those fliers have been used in Northern Virginia.

The union requested a flier that did not include Fairfax, said Brian Petruska, general counsel with the LIUNA Mid-Atlantic Region Organizing Coalition, because Fairfax did not complete their questionnaire and “wasn’t supporting us on the issues,” he said.

Among those issues: Two controversial natural gas pipelines, the EQT Midstream Partners’ Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which are proposed to cross Virginia. Fairfax is among the environmentalist Democratic base in Virginia that’s opposed to the pipelines. Northam does not oppose the pipelines. The union also has endorsed Herring, according to Herring spokesman Adam Zuckerman.

Yes, heaven forbid a Democrat care about the environment! Remove that man’s face from our precious literature!!

So, this is not about racism, apparently—hurray. But it is about a corporate Democrat failing to stand up for progressive principles, and also failing to stand by a supposed political ally who does stand by his principles. As a Northram spokesman pointed out, the redacted fliers account for a very small percentage of overall campaign literature, but it’s a mystery why anyone thinks this is exculpatory—it’s a classic neoliberal move to say “well, we did the right thing most of the time.” It’s also classically bad politicking to imagine they could do something like this and not have it backfire on a national stage (For that matter, it’s also deeply troubling that a union would pull a stunt like this, when it holds the potential to do so much damage to the Democratic ticket.)

Hopefully, you’ve endured this nightmare enough times that you can see where this is heading in November. What do we know about corporate Democrats who have flimsy ethical foundations? They lose. Congratulations to Republican Ed Gillespie on his impending win.

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