A racist photo tied to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam spurred the first major test for how Democratic presidential hopefuls will address racial tensions that have polarized American life. Nearly every major declared and potential Democratic candidate called for Northam’s resignation after disclosure of the photo, which shows one person in blackface and another hooded in white Klan regalia. Their reactions came before Northam, 59, who is white, said during a news conference Saturday that he was not in the photo on his page of the 1984 yearbook. He acknowledged using blackface when he dressed as pop icon Michael Jackson for a dance contest, also in 1984.That leaves Democrats running for president or considering bids to navigate an explosive and embarrassing story as they mount campaigns intended to serve as a contrast with racial divisions that have intensified under the presidency of Donald Trump. “The candidates were right on this, but this one was easy; the questions and issues on race will only get harder,” said Symone Sanders, one of the Democratic Party’s most visible black strategists and an aide to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Northam’s refusal to step down, Sanders added, threatens to “bring down the Democratic ecosystem” when… Read full this story
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