Republican Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam successfully won re-election last night by beating his Democratic opponent, Justin Fairfax, by about six points. Mr. Northam campaigned on a promise to reduce the health care costs of Virginians. However, earlier today, Mr. Northam took a moment to answer questions about the potential for a government shutdown during the Senate’s consideration of a bill that could make it possible for parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children. Mr. Northam did his best to evade the question by referring to his belief that vaccinations are “not proven or scientifically proven to cause autism,” which is rather unhelpful if what you’re trying to talk about is the potential for government shut downs in Virginia.
In his answer, Mr. Northam basically just said there was still some dispute in the scientific community about whether or not vaccines actually cause autism, but that ultimately any government shutdown would be resolved by political will and not by the laws of the Senate. That is, of course, a dodge that has been successfully used for decades by GOP politicians, but at least it’s not garbage about vaccines. Still, it is a distinctly odd answer to ask Mr. Northam about whether or not he took his children to an after-school group that promoted quackery about vaccines.