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We need to talk about Virginia

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, accompanied by his wife Pamela Northam announces he will not resign during a news conference Richmond, Virginia, U.S. February 2, 2019. Photo credit: Jay Paul/Reuters

In Virginia, three statewide officeholders have fallen into scandal. Governor Ralph Northam is facing calls to resign after a medical school yearbook page from 1984 surfaced. It shows photos of Northam in a series of photos as himself and one of a man in blackface standing next to a man in a Klan hood. Northam apologized for the photo in a press conference, and he also claimed that he wasn’t in the photograph. The governor did admit to appearing in blackface for a Michael Jackson dance contest (which he says he won) around the same time. Essentially Virginia’s entire state legislature is demanding Northam’s resignation.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who would succeed Northam if he resigns, is facing accusations of his own. A professor has accused him of sexual assault, and after this episode was taped, a second woman accused Fairfax of rape.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring disclosed that he, too, had worn blackface while impersonating the rapper Kurtis Blow. The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk II joins to discuss the state of Virginia’s political leadership, and also the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, delivered by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

President Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF. This treaty aimed to halt the creation and deployment of smaller nuclear weapons, as opposed to the giant nukes a nation might use in an act of war or to completely decimate all life on Earth. Tom Nichols of the US Naval War College explains Russia’s flagrant disregard for the treaty and what the end of the INF means for global security.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to make headlines with the Green New Deal. This week she released an FAQ about the proposal, emphasizing its push to single-payer healthcare, guaranteed jobs for all, and a goal of net-zero carbon emissions within ten years. How are Democrats reacting to the progressive proposal? 

If you missed our bonus State of the Union episode this week, you can listen to it here or on Apple Podcasts.

Credits

Guests:
Van Newkirk II - Staff writer for The Atlantic - @fivefifths, Tom Nichols - Professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College - @RadioFreeTom

Hosts:
Josh Barro, Rich Lowry, Elizabeth Bruenig

Producers:
Sara Fay, Rosalie Atkinson