GA Senate Race: Why Warnock Can’t Shake Walker - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
GA Senate Race: Why Warnock Can’t Shake Walker

Most media reports about the U.S. Senate race between Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker have focused on the shortcomings of the latter. Georgia voters have been subjected to countless “news” stories questioning the former football star’s character, mental stability, and intelligence. Moreover, Walker has committed the cardinal sin of embracing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Yet, despite all of the negative coverage and several truly rancid attack ads, Walker is still breathing down Warnock’s neck.

A new poll of likely voters conducted for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) from Sept. 5–16 shows Walker leading Warnock 46–44. The RealClearPolitics average indicates that Warnock has a minuscule lead of 0.7 percent. For a well-financed incumbent senator with the full-throated support of his party and the Fourth Estate, this is a remarkably anemic showing. If Warnock wants to win in November, he had better up his game — and soon. Early voting begins on Oct. 17 and, according to pollsters, the Democrats have a serious brand problem in Georgia. A new Monmouth University poll, for example, found the following:

The image of the Democratic Party (44% favorable and 55% unfavorable) is notably more negative in the state than opinion of the Republican Party (53% favorable and 47% unfavorable). Also, former President Donald Trump (45% favorable and 54% unfavorable) has a nominally better rating than current President Joe Biden (41% favorable and 59% unfavorable). When asked about their preference for which party should control Congress, Georgia voters choose the Republicans (50%) over the Democrats (40%).

This image issue is evident in every statewide election. The AJC poll shows GOP Gov. Brian Kemp leading Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams by 8 points, and Republican Burt Jones 20 points ahead of Democrat Charlie Bailey in the contest to replace retiring Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. The survey also shows GOP Attorney General Chris Carr leading Democratic challenger Jen Jordan by 10 points, and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger 19 points ahead of Democratic challenger Bee Nguyen. For Warnock to win, his campaign must defy a well-documented trend in American politics — the decline in ticket splitting.

This is theoretically possible, but it’s hard to imagine Georgians rejecting Walker while voting for his fellow Republicans. Ordinarily, Warnock could conceivably find ticket-splitters among voters who aren’t aligned with the major parties. These are not, however, ordinary times. Inflation is at a 40-year high and, per the AJC poll, 69 percent of Georgia independents say the country is headed in the wrong direction. President Biden’s unpopularity is also problematic for Warnock, who has voted with him 96 percent of the time yet studiously avoids saying his name. The Associated Press noted this in a story about a recent campaign stop:

Warnock mentioned President Joe Biden’s name just once and referred several other times only to “the president of the United States,” trying to distinguish himself from Biden — and the rising inflation that has marked his term.… As for the uneven economy, Warnock notably referred to “global inflation” while sidestepping Biden…. He pivoted again when asked about Biden’s performance. “I’m focused on the job I’m doing,” Warnock said.

The senator’s record indicates that he has primarily “focused on the job” of rubber stamping the Biden agenda that has created so much economic chaos. Warnock’s first vote on major legislation was in favor of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which former Obama advisor Steven Rattner dubbed “the original sin” that launched the current inflationary spiral. He has since voted for every irresponsible spending bill Biden and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have been able to contrive, including the fraudulent Inflation Reduction Act that will inevitably exacerbate the problem its deceptive name suggests it will solve. (READ MORE from David Catron: Why Stacey Abrams Can’t Make the Sale in GA)

Warnock’s support of the Biden agenda isn’t the only subject he avoids. Before formally entering politics, he used his position as pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church to espouse anti-police positions. The Federalist reported, during his 2020 campaign, that he often used adjectives like “gangsters” and “thugs” to describe the police. Warnock has also trafficked in divisive racial rhetoric, including one sermon in which he castigated the entire country: “America needs to repent for its worship of whiteness.” Predictably, the corporate media has ignored his past indiscretions, a courtesy they haven’t extended to Walker.

Walker gets the same treatment from the Fourth Estate to which all black Republicans are subjected. The New Republic, for example, ran a column in June bearing this title: “Herschel Walker Is Running to Be the Senate’s Dumbest Liar.” This smear is by no means unique. Just last week, the New York Times published a column about Walker under the headline, “Herschel Walker Says He’s ‘Not That Smart.’ I Believe Him.” Its author, Charles W. Blow, seems oddly nettled by Walker’s self-deprecating remarks concerning his upcoming debate with Warnock, an encounter that the senator needs far more badly than does his challenger.

Blow, like many in the corporate media, has attempted to portray the debate negotiations as an indication that Walker is afraid to face Warnock. In reality, the senator was forced to accept Walker’s longstanding debate proposal — without extracting many concessions — because he needs a debate in order to revive his stalled campaign. After Warnock finally caved, Walker gently taunted the senator with this tweet: “He has agreed to debate me October the 14th in Savannah, Georgia. Hey, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll see you there. Now you get a chance to tell us why you voted with Joe Biden 96 percent of the time. And God bless.”

That tweet contains two words that sum up Warnock’s dilemma — “Joe Biden.” A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday shows the president’s overall job approval at 39 percent. For Warnock, that number is like quicksand. Even worse, inflation and the economy are still the top voter concerns, and they trust Republicans far more than Democrats on those issues. Warnock has plenty of money, enjoys the support of the corporate media, and will probably be smoother than Walker in the debate. In the current political environment, however, these things are just not enough. He’s on the wrong team this year.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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