Warnock vs. Walker? Someone tell Republicans replacing one Black man for another doesn’t work

OPINION: GOP arrogance and ignorance led by the biggest fool in American history, Donald Trump, leads them to mistakenly believe they can just swap Warnock for Walker

Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, theGrio.com
Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker (Photo: Getty Images)

Last week, in yet another shady move from former President Donald J. Trump to reassert himself into our national politics, he announced publicly that former NFL great Herschel Walker told him that he was going to run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2022.

Although Walker has not yet made a formal announcement, there is a concern in GOP circles in Georgia that he may not be ready for such a big platform, and up against a native son of Georgia in Senator Raphael Warnock. Should he decide to run, Walker’s opponent will be the newly-elected incumbent Reverend Warnock who was the first Black senator elected to office in Georgia since Reconstruction.

Warnock won handily in his primary field and got the most votes in the general special election of January 2021. He will be a formidable opponent against any GOP challenger, but particularly a political novice like Walker who doesn’t even live in Georgia. He resides as his primary residence in Texas, according to news reports.

Let’s put this into context: as the Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell aims to win back the Senate majority in 2022, the Democrats most of all must hold on to Georgia. The Republicans narrowly lost the Senate in January when the Democrats barely swept Georgia’s twin Senate runoff elections. But the 2022 election map is tough for Republicans nationally as they will be playing plenty of defense — they must defend 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs, including five open seats – with two of them in the crucial battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks about his opposition to the For The People Act Thursday in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Democrats also see opportunities to flip two seats from red to blue in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and longer shots in Florida and maybe even in Wisconsin and North Carolina. It’s worth noting that Republicans who have enacted oppressive voting rights laws in Georgia are being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for Votings Rights Act violations. In the Peach State, the GOP sees Warnock as one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in 2022, and with the draconian change in state voting laws and Trump actively recruiting Herschel Walker, they could be right. 

Republican arrogance and ignorance led by the biggest fool in American history, Donald Trump, leads them to mistakenly believe that replacing one Black man for another is the answer to their problems in Georgia. Not so. Black voters and Black citizens are far more astute than that. The Republicans show their utter lack of understanding of Black people and the role of Black clergy in our communities with this blatant attempt to replace Pastor Warnock with a famed Black football player.

What Republicans fail (and have failed) to understand for the past 50 years is that Black people are not single-issue voters. We care about everything our white fellow voters care about: education, taxes, housing, the right to own property, and building a better future for our children. 

Instead of courting us, and talking to us, and listening to what our communities need, Trump and his minions in Georgia think that they can run a Black man, and just swap one for another. Thus, somehow tricking the voters of Georgia that the two men are the same. They are not. Although we can all appreciate and celebrate Mr. Walker’s storied football career at the University of Georgia, we have to be clear that if he is a friend of Donald Trump’s, and Trump’s white grievance insurrectionist party, he is no friend to Black people.

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker, theGrio.com
Donald Trump and Herschel Walker (Photo by Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images)

Six months ago, Donald Trump, then president of the United States, incited and led an open and hostile rebellion against the constitutional processes of the U.S. government. Trump lied about the election results. Trump tried to intimidate and influence Georgie’s secretary of elections and other state officials to overturn the results in his favor. This is the man that Herschel Walker calls his friend and who he supported for four more years as president in 2020.

Senator Warnock defeated then appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler by a razor-thin margin on Jan. 5, 2021, to serve the final two years of the term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned in 2019 due to health reasons. That means that Georgia Democrats, the Biden administration, and activists like Stacey Abrams must work overtime to ensure that he keeps his seat.

And if the GOP is so petty and ridiculous to nominate Mr. Walker, instead of a more experienced, red-meat in a red state Republican, who can really excite the MAGA forces, they will not take back the Senate seat. That wouldn’t only be a win for Georgia, it would be a win for all of us in the United States of America. 

Sophia A. Nelson is a contributing editor for theGrio. Nelson is a TV commentator and is the author of “The Woman Code: Powerful Keys to Unlock,” “Black Women Redefined.”

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