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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Resigning in shame isn't really a thing anymore. Hanging on for dear life, and hoping everyone will forget about your scandal, is the new thing.

Why it matters: It's not just Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. It's a growing group of elected officials who are still hanging around despite scandals that would have been considered fatal in the past. That's a sign of our shorter attention spans and the lightning speed of today's news cycles — but it's also a sign of how our standards have changed.

  • You see it with Northam (D) insisting he's going to stick it out in office after the discovery of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook — which prompted him to acknowledge that he wore blackface in 1984 to impersonate Michael Jackson.
  • You see it with Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) insisting he won't resign after sexual assault allegations by two women.
  • You see it with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) staying in Congress after being stripped of his committee assignments over racist comments.
  • You see it with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) keeping his seat in Congress despite accusations that he knew about sexual abuse of athletes at Ohio State University and didn't do anything about it.
  • You see it with Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) running for re-election — and winning — even though they're facing federal indictments.
  • You see it with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) being re-elected after his highly publicized trial on corruption charges. (He was acquitted on seven counts, and the Justice Department dropped the rest of the charges.)

And let's not forget the obvious: The "Access Hollywood" tape didn't exactly keep Donald Trump out of the White House.

Why is it happening? Part of it is "the atomized, 24-second news cycle where the speed of digitized platforms and the compressed attention spans of the audience have us careening from one controversy and outrage to the next," says Kevin Madden, a veteran GOP strategist who worked on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

  • But it's also because scandal-ridden politicians can use social media to mobilize their supporters: "If Richard Nixon had Fox News or Twitter, would he have felt as much public pressure to ultimately resign?"

And to Michael Feldman, a Democratic strategist who worked on Al Gore's presidential campaign, it's also a sign that we're just surrounded by so much scandal — starting with Trump's Russia investigation and other scandals — that the shock value has worn off.

  • "We are more hardened, we are more distracted, and if you're under siege, you have reason to believe that everyone might move on," Feldman said. "The president is the ultimate example."

Another factor: hyper-partisanship. With Republican and Democratic heels dug in on issues big and small and legislatures and electoral votes hanging on razor-thin margins, neither side has reason to toss one of their own overboard too fast when scandal hits.

It's not just an American phenomenon, either. As Axios' Dave Lawler points out, British Prime Minister Theresa May didn't step down after her Brexit plan went down in flames. Jeremy Corbyn didn't let a few allegations of anti-Semitism stand in the way of leading Britain's Labour Party.

  • And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running for re-election even though Israeli police want him indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

This isn't a completely new tactic: Bill Clinton blazed the trail when he shrugged off his impeachment and stuck around. But look at that list, and it's hard to argue that the "hell no I won't go" club isn't bigger than it used to be.

The bottom line: They're betting that the public will move on — and they're usually right.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The new cold war panic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The world has seen a power struggle between nuclear powers before, and has seen those countries inch closer to military conflict. But it's never before seen a cold war between two countries as interconnected — with each other and with the rest of the globe — as the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Escalating antagonism between the world's two superpowers is likely to hinder global cooperation to fight climate change, divert resources to costly arms and tech races, complicate diplomacy for U.S. allies, and victimize Chinese and American citizens living in each other's countries.

Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

A makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2020. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Families and survivors of a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., reached a $25 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Broward County school district Monday, per the South Florida SunSentinel.

Why it matters: The deal was reached in the suit over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school district won a Florida Supreme Court ruling that could have capped damages at $300,000 in total without approval from the state legislature, AP notes.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

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