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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

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.

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