In 2004, the Republican Party needed a candidate to run against the incoming young senator from Illinois running for the United States Senate. Jack Ryan, Barack Obama’s Republican opponent, had unexpectedly dropped out of the race after a sex scandal. After cruising the country and hearing “no” from former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, and others, Republicans somehow landed on former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keys, a Harvard-educated former ambassador and assistant secretary of state during the Reagan years who They lived in Maryland.
Consider the blatant political irony of the Republican Party’s recruitment of an old black star from out of town with no political experience.
Last year, the Republican Party realized it would need a candidate to run against Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, who is now seeking a full six-year term as a senator after winning the seat last year in a special session. Election run-off. The Republicans somehow landed Herschel Walker, a football legend and Heisman Prize winner at the University of Georgia, who just so happened to live in Texas.
Consider the stark political irony of the Republican Party’s recruitment of an old black star from out of town with no political experience to come home and play on white voters’ nostalgia and football pride. Consider the horror of Georgia Republicans’ hope that the color of Walker’s skin and memories of his landing will peel enough black voters to help white Republicans win a victory over Warnock and the Democrats.
Keyes embraced hard-line conservatism, arguing with Obama over who the real “African American” was in the race and supporting school vouchers and tax cuts. Walker opposes reparations, despite a finding last year that 86 percent of African Americans support the idea of reparations for descendants of slaves. He unreasonably claimed that John Lewis, a civil rights icon from Georgia, would oppose the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, even as he ran for office in a state that added restrictions on mail-in voting, restricted ballot boxes and made it more difficult for voters to count their votes if there were problems. He has also lied about his academic and business record and said he was “responsible” for unspecified actions against his ex-wife, even when he said he never broke the law. His ex-wife claims that Walker put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her.
Despite former President Donald Trump’s lies about Georgia, specifically the predominantly black areas of the Atlanta area, and naming the state as one of the places where the 2020 election was stolen, Walker claims he never heard Trump say that the 2020 election was. stolen from him, Ross Spencer tells From WAGA-TV in Atlanta: “I think reporters said that. I don’t know if President Trump said that. He never said that to me.”
Walker’s victory in the Republican primary on Tuesday night and Warnock’s victory in the Democratic primary mean that this will only be the second time in recent history that two African-American men have faced each other for the right to a seat in the Senate. Squaring the two black candidates is not the problem. African Americans must be on the ballot in all parties vying for all positions on each ticket. African Americans are not one bloc, as every man, woman, and child believes the same, celebrates the same holidays and votes the same way. But what an insult to Georgia’s black voters, many of whom likely hold socially conservative views, that the Republican Party went to Texas to find an unqualified, incoherent, and dishonest candidate like Walker.
Regardless of his Republican opponent, Warnock was in a tough battle due to the historic and steadfast loyalty of the majority of white Southerners to the Republican Party. He won in 2020 thanks to a coalition that included a few white Georgians who voted Democrats and a majority of blacks and Browns who turned out heavily for the Democrats despite voting cheats in his state, leaving many of his voters standing in line for hours. to cast their votes.
But for all the things that rule out Walker, Warnock may be up for a tough fight.
Unfortunately, Walker’s nomination follows the modern trend in celebrity politics: the party picks a popular political novice, gives the candidate a script, hides the candidate to protect from tough questions, and demands that recognition of the candidate’s name trump anything stupid the candidate says or does. Republicans aren’t the only ones prosecuting this: Democrats are guilty of this too, given their failed pleas to celebrities like Matthew McConaughey in Texas and Ashley Judd in Kentucky. But the Republican Party is back to science. After Trump’s presidency of TV celebrity, he’s pushing candidates like TV Doctor Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. At the same time, GOP lawmakers like Marjorie Taylor Green in Georgia and Matt Gaetz in Florida seem to care more about TV ratings than they do substantive politics.
For all the things that rule out Walker, Warnock may be up for a tough fight.
At least Keyes had well-researched political views he was willing to defend and an interest in politics evidenced by previous nominations for the Maryland Senate, where he actually lived. But, as he should have done, Keyes faced accusations that he was running a parachute campaign based not on what Illinois voters wanted but on what the Republican Party wanted. Obama beat Keys 70 percent to 27 percent, the largest-ever gap in a US Senate race in Illinois.
Walker needn’t worry about losing in an explosion. The fact that he’s a football legend in Georgia and speaks conservatively means the score will be tight.
But we must hope that the cynicism of the Republicans – trying to lure black voters with a straw candidate who does not even support their full access to the ballot – will lose the game.