[Ed. – Imagine how different the tone of this piece would be if the prodigal son had been a Republican.]
The history of U.S. politics is full of second chances — of scandal-scarred, disgraced and irredeemable public figures staging improbable comebacks — but few back-from-the-dead narratives have been as swift and sure-footed as the one Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has managed this year.
Since Feb. 1, when the discovery of a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page dealt what seemed a lethal blow to his political career, Mr. Northam has refocused his governorship on racial equity and reconciliation in what amounted to an extended act of public contrition and atonement. It has been astonishingly effective not just in terms of his own political rehabilitation — his poll numbers climbed from the depths — but also in setting a clear theme for his four-year term in office, delimited by Virginia’s prohibition on governors succeeding themselves.