An Affair That Says a Lot about American Politics

The story is not unique: A candidate declares himself firmly against abortion, and then finds himself at the center of a political firestorm because he paid for the voluntary termination of a girlfriend’s pregnancy years before.

In general, this is the kind of story that, in the United States, nips a political career in the bud. But not in 2022. And certainly not among Trump Republicans.

Herschel Walker is a former college and professional football star. He is also a long-time friend of Donald Trump.

During the 2020 Republican Convention, Walker said he was personally insulted that people believed he had a 37-year friendship with a racist.

Walker also appeared on the television show, “The Apprentice,” which Trump hosted long before he entered politics.

It makes sense, then, that the former president has fervently backed Walker’s candidacy, especially given the fact that Walker doesn’t hesitate to supports the erroneous claim that the 2020 election was stolen, a claim dear to Trump. The athlete has thusly found himself thrust into the U.S. Senate race as a Republican candidate in Georgia.

For Republicans, to have a sports idol, who happens to be African American, face off at the polls against the incumbent Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock, also African American, is a real score.

Eyebrow-Raising Statements

The Republicans thought they had found the prodigal son who would give them one more seat in the Senate. Walker’s blunders on the campaign trail so far have not shaken their faith in him. In fact, from the start, his campaign has been peppered with bizarre claims that might cast doubt on how serious he is.

Walker is known for having already embellished or twisted key elements of his biography, notably by claiming that he worked in law enforcement, which is not true.

Walker has also made perplexing remarks, including this on President Joe Biden’s plan to combat inflation: “They continue to try to fool you like they’re helping you out, but they’re not. They’re not helping you out, because a lot of the money is going into trees. You know that, don’t you? It’s going into trees. We’ve got enough trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?”

What was Walker talking about? Maybe it was the billions of dollars pledged to finance environmental programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Then, a few weeks ago, Walker, just as cryptically said, “Our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air so when China gets our good air, their bad air has got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then, now, we’ve got to clean that back up.”

A Prolific Football Player

But moving on from these blunders, which certain analysts attribute to concussions Walker suffered on the football field, revelations from Walker’s past have been multiplying in recent weeks.

First, investigation into promises Walker made to donate part of his profits to charity failed to turn up any credible evidence that he gave that money to the four charitable organizations he noted, including the Boy Scouts of America and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Next, over the summer, Walker was forced to admit that he fathered several children, including children resulting from extramarital affairs. In all, he has one daughter and three sons, one of whom has just thrown a solid wrench into the works (more on that later).

Then, this week, The Daily Beast published the story of a woman who dated the Republican candidate and became pregnant in 2009. The two mutually agreed she would have an abortion.

These things happen in life. But when a star candidate has promoted himself as an anti-abortion champion and then finds himself at the center of a firestorm like this in the middle of an election campaign, it’s messy.

In real life, too, this can mean the candidate resigns, since the chances of being elected then are typically reduced to zero, like the many resignations and abrupt career implosions that followed allegations of infidelity, indecency and other personal history. The Gary Harts, Anthony Weiners and John Edwards types are legion.

The Best Defense Is Attack

But that’s not the case in the 2022 Republican Party — not in the party of Trump. Monday night, Walker was the guest of Sean Hannity, a pro-Trump host at Fox News. When Hannity showed Walker the get well card he sent to his then girlfriend, along with proof he had paid for the abortion, the candidate denied paying for anything.

“I send money to a lot of people,” Walker responded. “I never asked anyone to get an abortion. I never paid for an abortion, and it’s a lie.”

But the coup de grace came later that night by way of his son, Christian Walker, a TikToker who, outraged by his father’s comments, accused him of leading a life of lies in which he and his mother were victims.

“I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us. You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over six times in six months, running from your violence.”

“How dare you lie and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man,’” Christian Walker continued. “You’ve lived a life of destroying other peoples’ lives.”

Many careers have come to an end and many politicians been completely cut off in the past based on mere suspicion when it comes to abortion stories.. But not in this case. The president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican fund that has disbursed more than $34 million for television ads in Georgia between Labor Day and Election Day, said, “Full speed ahead in Georgia.”

Among the ranks, some Republicans are staying the course in favor of Walker, while others are attacking his whistleblower son by making him out to be deeply disturbed by obvious personal problems.

In an era where a former president is the subject of multiple investigations and lawsuits, nothing is surprising.

Moreover, it gave Trump a prime opportunity to defend his protégé who had been slandered by the “fake news” media and, of course, by the Democrats.

What Is the Impact?

For the supporters of Trump’s MAGA movement, the impact of these revelations is probably nil. However, those voters are not enough to guarantee success. Trump’s MAGA movement must also convince Independent voters.

And that is a battle far from won, especially when abortion rears its head.

The Georgia Senate seat is one of those rare seats that are vital to Republicans if they want to control of the upper house of Congress. So, they can’t afford to drop Walker, especially since another of Trump’s protégés, Mehmet “Doctor” Oz of Pennsylvania, is not looking so good.

Let’s say the door to Senate control is not closed, but it seems less open than before for Republicans.

Even if these revelations are a godsend for the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democrat has remained magnanimous. “I’ll let the pundits decide how they think it will impact the race,” Warnock said. “But I have been consistent in my view that a patient’s room is too narrow and cramped for space for a woman and the government. My view on that has not changed.”

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About Reg Moss 118 Articles
Reg is a writer, teacher, and translator with an interest in social issues especially as pertains to education and matters of race, class, gender, immigration, etc.

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