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Vox Sentences: Racism and #MeToo in Virginia

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Virginia officials grapple with accusations; El Salvador elects a millennial president.

A reckoning for Virginia’s leaders

Alex Edelman/Getty Images
  • National Democrats are calling for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over an offensive photo (featuring one person in blackface and the other in a KKK uniform) on his medical school yearbook page. His lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, would take over if Northam stepped down. But Fairfax is now fighting an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004. [The New York Times / Jonathan Martin]
  • Big League Politics, the same conservative website that posted the yearbook photo, published the sexual assault allegation, from a woman who said Fairfax assaulted her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Fairfax says the encounter was consensual. [The Washington Post / Theresa Vargas]
  • The woman told the Washington Post her story after he was elected in 2017, but the newspaper did not publish it because it could not independently corroborate her account — not because, as Fairfax claimed, reporters found inconsistencies in the story. [The Washington Post / Theresa Vargas]
  • If Fairfax did ascend to Northam’s seat, he would be the second black governor in Virginia’s history. He would serve through 2021 and then would likely have the option to run for another term. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
  • Meanwhile, it’s still not clear if one of the men in the yearbook photo is Northam. The Democratic governor apologized Friday for the image, but then backtracked on Saturday, stating he was still sorry — but it wasn’t him in the photo. Northam then admitted to wearing blackface at another point in time to impersonate Michael Jackson. [Vox / Emily Stewart]
  • Fairfax, a descendant of slaves, and Northam appealed to black voters in 2017 who supported an anti-white supremacy agenda in Virginia. Now, Northam’s weakened credibility has dampened efforts against racism in the state. [The Atlantic / Vann R. Newkirk II]
  • The yearbook photo was released amid a debate over a Virginia bill to relax abortion restrictions in the state. Northam’s support of the bill, and confusing comments he made about what could happen in a hypothetical third-trimester abortion leading to a live birth, has angered abortion opponents and even drew criticism from President Trump. [Vox / Anna North]

Disrupting partisan power in El Salvador

  • El Salvador elected a new president on Sunday. Nayib Bukele, 37, the former mayor of the city of San Salvador, won over the left-wing and right-wing parties that have dominated the Central American country’s politics since the 1990s. [The New York Times / Gene Palumbo and Elisabeth Malkin]
  • Winning by a majority, Bukele campaigned on an anti-violence and anti-poverty platform. The millennial politician, who is popular on social media, has plans for social programs and public works initiatives that would employ young Salvadorans. [The Wall Street Journal / Robbie Whelan]
  • Historically two political parties, FMLN and Arena, have held the presidential seat, but apparent corruption has ruined voters’ trust. Bukele’s third-party image proved refreshing for Salvadorans, after previous presidents were accused of embezzling millions of dollars of public funds. [PRI / Emily Green]
  • More than 30 percent of Salvadorans live in poverty, and about half of the population would leave their country permanently if they could, according to a Gallup survey. Young people were the most likely to report a desire to leave the country, but Bukele’s appeal to this population may help him achieve his social development ideas, which focus on improving education and technology systems. [Gallup / Johanna Godoy and Emily Massel]
  • El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world, largely because of powerful gangs. Rather than promote the current approach of cracking down on gangs, Bukele recognized their influence in the election and negotiated with them. [The New York Times / Gene Palumbo and Elisabeth Malkin]


  • How does President Trump spend his day? Leaked documents show most of his schedule is dedicated to unstructured “executive time.” [Axios / Alexi McCammond and Jonathan Swan]
  • 3,750 troops will be sent to the southern border to install wire barriers and monitor crossings. Some Congress members have noted a lack of transparency, claiming Defense Department officials did not mention increasing troops in front of the House Armed Services Committee last week. [NPR / Matthew S. Schwartz]
  • You might not see the Mueller report when it’s completed. In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Trump refused to commit to making the special counsel’s inquiry into the 2016 presidential election viewable for the public. [The New York Times / Katie Rogers]
  • GM’s stock is up, but the Detroit-based company will begin a process of conducting more than 4,000 layoffs on Monday. [Fortune / Kevin Kelleher]
  • Pope Francis is the first-ever pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula. Here’s a letter from the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the US on why the trip could help promote religious tolerance. [Politico Magazine / Yousef Al Otaiba]


“Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically. France recognizes @jguaido as interim president to put in place an electoral process.” [French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter via the Wall Street Journal]

Watch this: The deadly race to the South Pole

In the Antarctic summer of 1911-1912, two exploration teams raced to the South Pole. Only one made it out alive. [YouTube / Coleman Lowndes]

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