Walker vs Warnock: A race too close to accept

Tuesday night’s runoff election in Georgia was nothing short of a nail biter. It was one for the history books. Incumbent U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a Black man, was squaring off for the last time against Trump-endorsed challenger Herschel Walker, another Black man. But unless you’ve tuned out for the past year, there is a stark contrast between their ideology and qualifications. It was experience versus inexperience, intelligence versus ignorance, dignity versus indignation— and unfortunately, the results were too close for comfort.

"Herschel Walker" by Thomson20192 is marked with CC0 1.0 and "File:Raphael Warnock for Senate (cropped).jpg" by Raphael Warnock is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
“Herschel Walker” by Thomson20192 is marked with CC0 1.0.

Black America was heavily invested in the results of this contest, and the turnout at Georgia polls reflected our feelings. From the comfort of a couch here in California, I spent the night texting my cousin as the results spewed out a dire possibility that Walker would be the next U.S. Senator. It was neck and neck, and back and forth throughout the night, but Warnock — and Black dignity — prevailed.

Walker represented not just the worst of the worst type of political candidate, his entire candidacy was racially problematic — an unrefined, inarticulate negro who would have done the bidding of White Republicans if elected.

RELATED: Walker vs Warnock: It’s no laughing matter

Herschel Walker displays an honorary sheriff's deputy badge during the only debate against Sen. Raphael Warnock in Savannah, Georgia.
Herschel Walker displays an honorary sheriff’s deputy badge during the only debate against Sen. Raphael Warnock in Savannah, Georgia.

The GOP will eventually have a day of reckoning after dismal results in the 2022 midterms, not just because of their tone-def messaging and vile rhetoric, but the quality, or lack thereof, in candidates for U.S. Congress. Walker’s follies on the campaign trail were well-documented, and I seriously doubt he will be invited to return to the campaign trail in 2028, but Georgia voters, some of the most MAGA Republicans in the country, signaled something disturbing with their support of such an unworthy candidate like Walker: the depths to which they don’t care how they win.

Warnock walked away with a 51.4% victory. I was sitting on the edge of seat Tuesday night. If there was a “silver lining” in the polarization of this race, it was the ability of two Black men to lead a high-profile contest for the U.S. Senate.

The 2022 midterms represent the third consecutive election cycle Republicans have largely lost. The party isn’t doing much inflection, and doesn’t seem poised to change. It makes me wonder where we go from here? How low will they go to win? And what does that bode for Americans who haven’t disregarded the most fundamental tenets of democracy?

Walker might ride off into the sunset, or find new life in the GOP — because apparently you don’t need an election for that. His ability to garner headlines may be seen as a benefit for the party, but who will replace him in Georgia’s next U.S. Senate election could be worse.

Warnock’s victory deserves celebration, but I don’t believe Black America, particularly Georgians, can rest on their laurels just yet. Who knows what’s around the corner with a party that doesn’t care who gets a seat at the table. If one thing is certain, I’ll be on the couch, gladly running out of nails if it means today’s GOP candidates take another “L.”