What We’re Following Today
It’s Wednesday, February 6.
Today in the implosion of top Virginia Democrats: The state’s governor, Ralph Northam, still isn’t resigning in the aftermath of the scandal over a racist photo from his medical-school yearbook page. Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who would succeed Northam, is facing his own problems over a serious allegation of sexual assault, which was detailed in a lengthy statement from his accuser today. Then today, Mark Herring, the state’s attorney general and third in line for the governorship, released a statement in which he admitted to wearing blackface in college. It’s all shaping up to be a catastrophic situation for Virginia Democrats, writes David A. Graham.
The House held a historic hearing on gun-violence prevention—its first in eight years. Also of note: Active-shooter drills may not be effective and may instead be psychologically damaging, Erika Christakis argues in the March Issue of The Atlantic.
Last night, President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address. Here are the main takeaways from the spectacle:
- The president called for unity, but he never laid out a strategy, or even a desire, to achieve it. Notably, Trump mentioned the Robert Mueller probe—which he avoided in last year’s speech—and pushed once again for a wall at the southern border. But he mentioned lowering prescription drug prices and a grand effort to eliminate HIV, and tipped his hat to last year’s bipartisan criminal-justice reform.
- Progressive Democrats roundly panned the president’s speech—but some moderate Democrats found things to like, reports Elaine Godfrey. These Democrats said they see a path forward for deal making on issues like infrastructure and the opioid epidemic.
- Trump condemned abortion using graphic language, jumping on the growing criticism of a recent law in New York that would expand access to late-term abortions. His State of the Union comments might signal the GOP’s approach to abortion policy in 2020: the use of “extreme cases as a powerful wedge issue.”
- In the response, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams laid out key Democratic policy measures, notably focusing on voting rights, an issue in which Abrams has special interest.