Georgia On My Mind

The run-off election between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock has to rank pretty far up in the annals of weirdness. For the Democrats, there was Warnock, who served two years in the Senate after winning a 2020 run-off election; for the GOP, there was Walker, who was evidently once a good football player.

Warnock is educated, highly intelligent and a serious policymaker. He is senior pastor at the church once served by Martin Luther King.  Walker wasn’t just in over his head–he is clearly mentally damaged, has absolutely no background in or understanding of policy, and was asked to run by Donald Trump and supported by other Republicans because–as a once-storied football player–he had generated name recognition and considerable good will in football-crazy Georgia. (Where he evidently doesn’t live–his primary residence is in Texas.)

And he’s Black.

Let’s call that cynical racism what it is: Republicans figured that running a Black  candidate would make the GOP seem less racist, and maybe even split the Black vote., encouraging some number of Black voters who usually vote Democratic to reward the GOP for nominating a Black candidate. (Black people are interchangeable, right?)

The pathetic reality is that Walker either happily allowed himself to be a GOP puppet or was too dense to realize that his handlers considered him a useful idiot.

A column in USA Today summed up my reaction to this whole bizarre exercise:

So much has been said about Herschel Walker’s gross incompetency as he takes aim at securing a seat in the U.S. Senate. As I looked at the recent nail-biter polling – Walker and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock are even at 46.4% on Thursday night – my first thought was: How could this race be this close?

Then, I felt enormous shame for this country. A place my family and I, Nigerian immigrants who became naturalized citizens more than 20 years ago, have always viewed as a symbol of true democracy. A country where we proclaim justice and freedom and fight fiercely to uphold those signature markers. A nation fervently striving, still, for common decency….

Much like Trump with the presidency, when Walker threw his hat into the Senate race, people scoffed at the idea. There was no way a man who can barely form a coherent sentence could convince reasonable citizens that he, over a well-respected, educated pastor, was the better choice. And, much like Trump, I strongly doubt, given his rambling speeches and cringe gaffes, that Walker knows what the Constitution is, let alone grasp his duties to protect it. The celebrity-turned-politician based on popularity and name recognition needs to end. Walker is the most dangerous embodiment of this.

Voters who might have been forgiven for not recognizing Walker’s “gross incompetence” when he was first nominated could hardly avoid the ensuing avalanche of news about his  obvious lies about his education and business history, the emergence of previously unacknowledged children, several domestic abuse incidents–and most embarrassing of all for an avowedly “pro life” candidate, revelations that he’d paid for at least two former girlfriends’ abortions.

And then there was his disquisition about vampires and werewolves…

During the campaign, Walker became a laughingstock, the butt of late-night jokes and even a Saturday Night Live “cold open.”

And yet, after all of that, 1,719,868 people voted to elevate this man to the august chambers of the U.S. Senate.( I am reasonably certain that very few of those ballots were cast by Black voters, most of whom were appropriately furious at the Republican Party’s  transparent effort to suggest that, since he was also Black, Walker was equivalent to the highly qualified Warnock.)

The fact that so many Georgia Republicans went to the polls to cast votes for Walker led Bret Stephens–the New York Times conservative columnist–to concede what most of us know: the GOP he (and I) once belonged to no longer exists. Stephens said:

Just the fact that he managed to make it to a runoff is a sign of how much is wrong with the United States today. A near-majority of voters in Georgia would rather vote for a moral delinquent with no grasp of the issues at hand than someone with whom they merely disagree.

The thing is, the people who voted for Walker don’t “merely disagree” with Warnock (or Biden or the Democrats). Most would be hard pressed to address substantive policy differences at all. Like the rural Indiana voters who automatically vote for anyone with an R next to his name, they see “woke” Americans as an existential threat. If combatting that threat required them to vote for a turnip, they would.(Arguably, they did…)

This is where the culture wars have gotten us.

 

26 thoughts on “Georgia On My Mind

  1. I’ve often been amazed how good Christian people who live in rural areas can vote for ignorant, attention-seeking, morally corrupt candidates…but they do and often vote against their best interests. Go figure.

  2. I find myself repeating the idea that republicans refuse to nominate even the slightly better of 2 or more lousy, rotten candidates these days. trump was but one example of that. Walker another. The trump GOP simply saw Walker as ( and please excuse this comment, racism is NOT intended) a “step n’ fetch it” . Some token black man who will do exactly, and only, what he is told to do, when he is told to do it, and exactly how he is told to do it. GA dodged embarrassing itself but does have to contend with the embarrassment of 1.7 million who voted to put party ahead of the country. Thank God the Rev. Warnock, an actual Christian who by all appearances actually reflects the teachings of the Christ, something the GOP supporting white evangelicals refuse to consider doing.

  3. I see our culture wars as primarily a manufactured construct of our media. I mean, have you been paying attention to the Twitter world? It goes even deeper than Musk because we are learning Big Tech engineers your perceived reality. They work with our government and other oligarchies in the advertiser’s model.

    They want us to be concerned with social issues but exclude economics. Surveys show people giving negative marks to Biden but don’t blame him for their economic reality. Their reality sucks, but there is no confirmation in the media for it.

    These so-called “culture wars” have created significant disconnects. We have two political parties that don’t provide opposition economically to our difficulties. The two parties are a distraction over performative issues versus meaningful/serious options. Same for the media landscape because they are manufacturing consent for it.

  4. Ignorance;
    A lack of knowledge, education, awareness, comprehension or common sense.

    Willful ignorance;
    A decision in bad faith to avoid becoming informed! That doesn’t mean that a person is not aware of positions taken on subjects even if they are detrimental to their own well-being. It’s fear and loathing concerning race, ethnicity or creed.

    They choose to be “Willfully Blind” so as to claim they’re ignorant of conspiracies, lies, criminality, and hatefulness. Can something good be birthed from something bad? It sounds wonderful and maybe even hopeful, but it never really happens that way. The bad Civil war in the United States gave rise to the emancipation proclamation which never really emancipated anyone for long. Hence, Jim Crow! So instead of something good being birthed from something bad, it’s just the opposite! Something bad always usurps the good in humanities domicile.

    It’s like coming to a fork in the road, everything inside of you tells you to go left, you can actually see the bridge partially collapsed if you look to the right. But, you’ve been told that the left is wrong, that if you have enough faith, right is worth the fight. So, you go right, and as you’re sailing through the air heading towards The rocks below, you wonder what happened? Now, the Piper is being paid, and purposeful irrationality was a mistake, then splat!

    When you go along with the pack, when you can’t think for yourself, when you fail to research, when you criticize without knowledge, the disaster is rising up over the horizon. All sides do it! It’s not just orne group, it’s all groups! Spetak without knowledge, criticize without evidence, repeat untruths, and judge without authority.

    If you want to make a point, it’s best to know what other person’s believe. That way, intellectual conversations can be had, but most folks do not want to put in the effort, or they’re just cowardly!

    It’s easy to go with the flow, it’s also cowardly. When one stands up for their belief, when one actually has a functional conscience, they are not going to go with the mob, too bad it’s something we very rarely see. Responsible and proper conduct is never easy because it invites ridicule by all of those who have thrown their lot in with the ignorant mob! Truth, history, conduct, compassion, empathy, love, strength, righteousness, be damned! That’s the willfully ignorant credo.

  5. Apparently celebrities are more important than brains for the right side of the aisle. It’s unforgettable that 1.8 million voters in GA were on for that. WTF

    Let’s not forget the 25+ Germans arrested yesterday for the Q anon conspiracy theories to try to overthrow the German government. It’s a mental illness that these cultures warriors are listening and organizing their own coup attempts! At least they were arrested first and not 2 years after an attempt. When is 45 going to be arrested, for crying out loud! ?

  6. JEFFREY; your comments are only racist as the proof that Trump was using him as a token; even Lindsay Graham stated this as fact. Trump’s view of “step n’ fetch it” Blacks went several steps beyond that; he chose a Black former football player who was, and probably still is, a cock hound spreading his seed far and wide in two states that we know of and either disbelieved or forgiven for the abortions he allegedly paid for as well as the fact that he is not legally a Georgia resident. Trump’s choice of Herschel Walker was the highest racial insult to all Blacks, the state of Georgia and beyond it’s boundaries. One white man who was interviewed on air was loud in his support and wearing a shirt with large letters stating “I’M WITH HERSCHEL” and the white woman stated “We know who Herschel is.” Obviously ignorant of who her own state Senator is. Such is the mental level of many staunch Republican voters today still following Trump; however, that is not the case with his sitting and newly elected members of U.S. Congress and local and state level elected Republicans we will be forced to deal with who are bent on destroying all that America means.

  7. You said it, sister Sheila! “The celebrity-turned-politician based on popularity and name recognition needs to end.” Because of this personality obsessed works that we live in , along with un increasingly uniformed and/or misinformed public, I fear for the future our system of government.

  8. Mitch McConnell was right when he said the quality of Republican candidates was not very good. That’s even clearer when one sees who Trump has picked to endorse, who he picked for his cabinet when President and the high rate of turnover of competent operatives. Herschel Walker is all of what was mentioned above…and less. It’s a pathetic shame and a total embarrassment for our country.

    Those poor fools wearing Walker T-shirts saying they know who he is is so pathetically laughable. It also shows that southern Republicans would indeed sell their children into slavery than vote for a Democrat – even one with the credentials of Rafael Warnock. Of course, Texans did the same thing by re-electing the egregious Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz. These idiots are the canaries in the mineshaft of our decaying democracy…brought to us by corporate/banking America, the right-wing media who abuse the 1st Amendment, the right-wing churches who have flaunted the separation of church and state (And pay no taxes) and the oozing hate swamping the good people in this country.

    Maybe we’re changing back to sanity as the Georgia run-off suggests. But the SCOTUS is about to give the state legislatures the power to pick their own electors irrespective of the votes of the people. Stay tuned. We may yet become a fascist dictatorship.

    Well done, dummies.

  9. A win is a win. I look forward to see how Senator Warlock makes good on the win by wide margins.

  10. The real question is, after two years of nonsensical investigations into anything and everything, will the voters understand the difference between a chamber that doesn’t bother to legislate and one that actually passes bills and eschews hyperbolic investigations and return the House to the Dems?

    Thirteen Circuits/Thirteen Justices.

  11. I have a different take – $76M+ was spent on the runoff. Imagine (hello John L.) this went for housing or healthcare. “Money talks, governing walks.”

  12. I’d like to see a closer analysis of voting patterns in Georgia. It seems that hard work by Democrats was just barely enough to offset the turnip vote.

    Is that the lesson to motivate future Democrats? They need to work harder, smarter, and to lose well, where they lose.

  13. It is a scary win. If the Repugnicans had chosen a candidate just a little less ignorant and embarrassing, we would be stuck with a different outcome. I can only hope they are too stupid to learn from their mistakes.

  14. It was interesting to note the opinion piece that came yesterday morning from Liz Peek for Fox News no less, entitled “Herschel Walker just wrote Donald Trump’s political obituary.”

    She notes:

    “Having suffered the rare humiliation of failing to win a second term in the Oval Office, and having cost his party a majority in the senate-three times-it is time for Donald Trump to step away from politics. It is the right thing to do for his party, for the country, and for himself.
    Mr. Trump will not win another election. His most glaring political strength today is his ability to energize Democrats, causing not only historic turnout but attracting gushers of campaign cash-for the opposition.
    * * *
    (H)is refusal to admit defeat in the 2020 election, and the tragic aftermath of that refusal, shut the door on his political career. After January 6, and having publicly nursed his grievances for two years, there is no comeback.
    It is a tragedy that will be made worse by Trump’s continued presence on our national stage. He has announced he will run again for president, but he cannot and will not let go of his anger about the 2020 election. That is a losing platform.”

    We can only hope.

  15. That race should have never been that close. What is wrong with us? I am glad he won but again this should have never been that close and I can’t help but see this as indictment as to what we have become.

  16. David,

    Donald Trump presents as a psychopath. What the media have done with him is show a future textbook case for those in psychiatry.

    Maybe John Sorg is wrong. Maybe, in this case, the BAD (Trump) will deliver something good: The elimination of the Republican party in politics. Of course, Turnip Nation will try to keep the utter human disgrace of abject ignorance bubbling away. THAT is where John Sorg is correct. The 25% of us will ALWAYS find ways to shoot both feet off.

  17. David – watch what you “hope for” – DeSantaclaus waits in the wings and is MUCH smarter and a real authoritarian…

  18. Until we change our taxation and funding priorities, nothing will change. Too many White, working class people have been left behind. They believe that the Republican Party will change their lives. Republicans feed them what the want to hear (“Own the Libs” and hate “those people”) rather than opportunities to better their lives through a living wage and more and better educational opportunities, the things they need to participate in today’s economy.

    In 2018, we broke the record set during the Great Depression for income inequality. The Trump Administration only made things worse. The current Administration (with little or no help from Republicans) has done its best to turn things around. We didn’t get here overnight and we won’t turn things around overnight, either. We need to do a much better job of creating more opportunities for all people to achieve, if we wish to maintain our democracy.

  19. Warnock won by “large margins?” Warnock won 51.3% of the vote, Walker 48.7%. The difference is 2.6%. If Walker would have persuaded just over 1.31% more of the voters, he would have won. We are having extraordinarily close elections in this age we’re living in and yet people think the thinnest margins are blowouts. I remember arguing with someone over whether the Obama-McCain and Obama-Romney races were “landslides” for Obama. I pointed out that both races were in the top 10 of all-time closest presidential races, both electorally and in the popular vote. Of course, we’ve had two more even closer ones the last two cycles.

  20. What attracted Walker to those who voted for him was that he said, even if he apparently hadn’t lived, pro-life. He was against, he said, females choosing their own reproductive path through life. He apparently was not against himself choosing for them, just not the females.

    Christians in Georgia made a deal with the devil, the prima Donnie. Give us that and we will ignore everything else. They were single-minded about a single issue.

    It’s no different than Middle East men about how women dress.

    Culture is necessary for “higher” animals to live socially and sometimes it comes packaged as religion. Mostly it’s adaptive. Sometimes though it is more nostalgia on the part of those grown out of touch with the times. Sometimes it’s fashion.

  21. Paul, you’re not getting the youth vote, the black and brown voters and or the marginalized either. Your party of white men and women are the minority. They are over 50 and dying younger and younger. Haven’t you noticed? Sheesh

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