Several months ago, I stopped reading news about Herschel Walker, Donald Trump’s hand-picked candidate for the U.S. Senate from Georgia. I remembered Walker from his days as a Dallas Cowboy but did not know much else about him until after Trump selected him. Then came a torrent of incredible news–unacknowledged children, abortions, incoherent ramblings, and a remarkable display of ignorance. My initial curiosity about the former football star disappeared. I came to see Walker as one of the worst manifestations of Trumpism (and believe me, that is saying something).
Last night, I watched the election returns. Hallelujah, Georgia rejected Walker–and by a large enough margin to enable the networks to proclaim Warnock the projected winner before bedtime.
This column is my first comment on Walker. Although he has been low-hanging fruit for writers since Trump launched the ex-football star’s political career, I was reticent to comment on how stupid and unqualified Walker is to serve in the U.S. Senate. I feared that, as a white man, I would write something that smacked of racism or was racist.
Barack Obama helped me overcome my concerns. He courageously went to Georgia and stated the obvious– that Walker has no business in the U.S. Senate. Because Obama so persuasively laid out the case against Walker, I don’t have to.
Simply put, Walker’s election not only would have denied Georgia Senate representation for six years, but he would have disrupted the work of the other 99 Senators. There is not enough room in the Senate for another clown. (I will spare you my list of four others who come to mind.)
Because President Obama, dozens of Democratic and even Republican officials, and numerous comedians have already “reported” on how inappropriate Walker is for Senate service, I do not need to. If you are looking for details on the most pathetic candidate for the U.S. Senate in recent history, just Google “Hershel Walker scandals” or “Hershel Walker unqualified.” You get the idea.
Rather than ramble on about Walker, I would rather write that I am happy that Senator Raphael Warnock will return to Washington in January. Since he won his special election in 2020, he has done an excellent job of representing Georgia—all constituents except for die-hard Trump voters who apparently are ready to vote for anyone the defeated ex-president endorses.
Now Warnock will have a chance to concentrate on being a Senator rather than running for election or re-election. His win may mark a turning point for Georgia, returning it to the category of a competitive state where both Democrats and Republicans have a chance to get elected. That is welcome news.
The rejection of Walker also is additional evidence that what I call the Trump hangover is ending. Warnock’s win is yet another repudiation of Trump. It is more evidence that a Trump endorsement hurts candidates more than it helps them. A Republican would have won last night had Trump not involved himself in the race.
The rejection of Walker also should send a message to the Republican parties of other states, including our own. The message is that if you nominate a right-wing extremist, expect to lose. Larry Hogan leaves the statehouse with incredibly high approval ratings. In Maryland, a Republican should have had a fighting chance to win, even against a strong candidate like Wes Moore. What does Cox’s double-digit loss tell us?
I dream that I will not see candidates like Walker, Kari Lake (the election-denying loser for Governor in Arizona), Dan Cox, and Donald Trump (Senior or Junior) in the future. That may be wishful thinking, but it cannot stop me from considering Walker’s defeat as an early holiday gift.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.