Here he is, right here in Virginia — the Democrats’ best true hope for winning the White House in 2020: Joe Morrissey.
Yes, two dozen Democrats are already vying to take down President Trump.
But the proper way to challenge Trump isn’t to aim high with candidates who are experienced and effective lawmakers or Rhodes scholars or Harvard graduates or military veterans — people who have actual plans to solve some of our nation’s biggest crises.
No, this new era of American reality-show politics — with a president who has totally rewritten the qualifications for the nation’s highest office — calls for a candidate who can go low with flair. We need a white guy with more dirt, more bravado, more children by more women, more legal drama and the youngest wife possible.
Morrissey, who was all but assured a seat in the Virginia state Senate on Tuesday even though he pleaded guilty five years ago to having sex with his 17-year-old receptionist (now his wife), is that man.
“Fightin’ Joe,” as he touts himself, seems to have everything that much of voting America wants in a politician. He has scandal, personality and gumption galore. Did I mention scandal? Few people can match Trump for scandal. Morrissey is one of them.
It’s not like Virginia Democrats haven’t tried this scandal-as-asset tactic. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) have admitted to wearing blackface as young men, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) has been accused by two women of sexual assault — allegations he denies.
Morrissey is 61 and white; his wife, Myrna, is in her early 20s and black. Somehow, even after he proudly distributed photos of himself in a plantation master costume beside her dressed as a Southern belle mistress, he seems to be beloved by African American voters outside Richmond.
Back when he was still a state delegate, I spent a cold day in his district asking folks what they thought of him. Most said they loved him. A few described how he had helped get their health care straightened out. They reminded me of D.C. residents who loved disgraced mayor Marion Barry because they’d participated in his summer jobs program.
Morrissey is Marion Barry, Bill Clinton and Edwin Edwards all in one package.
He has been shattering the rules of common (and legal) decency for years. It’s hard to decide whether dating his underage receptionist (and lying about it) or getting elected while serving time in jail is more stunning.
Top that one, Trump.
In 2014, Morrissey resigned from the House of Delegates after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Investigators said the legislator was having sex with the underage receptionist at his law firm and allegedly bragged about it by showing pictures to one of his bros with the message, according to court documents: “Hey, buddy, I just [had intercourse with] her on my conference table and again on the floor for good measure!”
Detectives said they found 15 nude pictures of Myrna on his phone, a woman younger than two of the three daughters he had with three other women.
See what I mean? He has the thrice-married, porn-star-tainted Trump totally beat on this.
Morrissey is a lawyer in the same way Trump is an entrepreneur. His law career rivals Trump University for sleaziness.
During his time as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, Morrissey was fined, jailed and suspended so many times that his law license was revoked for a decade. The sex scandal wasn’t his first trip to jail. In 1991, he did five days for punching a defense lawyer in the face during a heroin trial. And then decorated his office with boxing gloves.
Morrissey was reinstated to practice law in Virginia in 2011, but then the whole sex scandal thing plus a few other oopsies riled the commonwealth’s esteemed legal establishment and his license was yanked again last summer.
No worries, he has work again, thanks to 1,870 voters in Virginia’s 16th Senate District. His victory in the Democratic primary over incumbent Rosalyn R. Dance this week nearly assures him a spot in the Virginia state Senate. There is no Republican challenger in sight.
And he and Myrna have had kid No. 3. The 17-month-old’s name is Maverick.
See? Morrissey is perfect for today’s White House.
Or the Bravo channel. But that’s up to you, American voters, when you get to decide what you really want in a leader.