The Transformation of Ralph Northam

In 2019, it seemed to many that Gov. Ralph Northam’s career was over.

That year, the Democratic governor of Virginia became embroiled in a highly publicized blackface scandal centered on a racist picture in his medical-school yearbook. There were widespread calls for his resignation.

Two years later, Mr. Northam has emerged as the most racially progressive leader in the state’s history. How did it happen?

Guest: Astead W. Herndon, a national political reporter for The New York Times. 

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Background reading: 

  • When a racist picture was discovered on his yearbook page, Ralph Northam refused to resign. Now he’s leaving office with a widely praised progressive record on racial justice.
  • Virginia’s governor survived a blackface scandal with the help of Black Democrats, who saw a chance for policy concessions. Both got more from the relationship than they could have imagined.

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