Where Walker Went Wrong: Right-Wing Hypocrisy in American Politics
In 2020, Georgia shocked the country when it went blue for President Joe Biden and held a runoff for its two Senate seats, a contentious election process that ultimately granted Democrats control of the Senate. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) defeated two incumbents in what was previously a solidly red state, and their work was not done. Then, the 2022 midterms came around and brought new turmoil: Warnock was up for reelection against a new face in politics, Herschel Walker.
Walker was born and raised in Georgia, where he played high school football before advancing to the University of Georgia. Walker cut his collegiate career short in order to begin his 12-year-long NFL career, where he spent time on four different teams: the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and the Cowboys for a second time.
Walker married his college sweetheart, Cindy DeAngelis Grossman, in 1983. They had a son, Christian Walker, who now has a large social media platform, creating content about his political beliefs. Grossman and Walker divorced in 2002, and he married Julie Blanchard in 2021.
During the legal proceedings of their divorce, Grossman claimed that Walker engaged in “emotionally and physically threatening behavior” that put her in danger. These claims were corroborated by Christian on social media. Another woman, Myka Dean, who stated she had a 20-year on-and-off relationship with Walker, explained in a police report that she also experienced similar traumatizing events in which Walker made extremely violent threats toward her. However, Walker claims he does not remember any of these events due to his dissociative identity disorder, which he was diagnosed with in 2001.
Turning to politics, Walker had no previous political experience other than expressing his public support for Republican candidates. However, he spoke on Trump’s behalf at the 2020 Republican National Convention and served as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. This close relationship with Trump led to the former president encouraging Walker to run against Warnock in 2021. Walker quickly packed up his life in Texas, moved to Georgia, re-established residency, and began his campaign.
Walker’s platform is based mostly on conservative ideals. In May 2022, he stated his support for abortion bans with no exceptions, solidifying his stance as pro-life. Walker has no clear stance on gun control, seemingly approaching it on a case-by-case basis, saying he would “see it and everything and stuff.” He supported Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and alleged “country-wide election fraud.” Similar to gun control, he holds no clear stance on environmental policy, but he does favor reductions in federal economic regulations to benefit businesses. Walker opposes Transgender athletes in sports and believes gay marriage should be left up to the states. Lastly, he supports the border wall in states along the US-Mexico border.
Like many politicians, Walker is not without controversy. He previously claimed to have only one child, Christian, and has publically lied and absconded his relationship with the other three children whose lives he was absent from. Despite the accusations made by Christian on social media and his absence from the lives of three of his children, Walker made claims about fatherless households being a major problem in African-American households. Contributing to the problem himself, one of the mothers of his children said Walker has only seen his son about three times and does not provide aid other than basic child support and birthday gifts.
This hypocrisy continues consistently throughout Walker’s platform. As mentioned above, he opposes abortion and supports bans that do not contain exemptions for rape or incest. However, Walker did voice support for Lindsey Graham’s bill proposal, which included exemptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother before 15 weeks of viability.
Any credibility that Walker may have garnered from maintaining ‘consistent’ opinions on abortion and childcare came crumbling down when The Daily Beast published allegations from a woman he dated in 2009, who claimed that he paid for her abortion in October of 2022. The interview principally featured the receipt for the procedure as well as a check from Walker for the same amount; a breakthrough revelation made right before the polarizing midterms took place. Walker vehemently denied this claim. The New York Times later interviewed the same woman and her friend, who corroborated her story, and added that Walker also urged her to get an abortion in 2011, which prompted her to terminate their relationship. Court records in New York confirm that the woman ultimately did not terminate her 2011 pregnancy and gave birth to her and Walker’s child in 2012. Another woman came forward in October 2022, claiming that Walker pressured her and offered to pay for her to have an abortion in 1993 after spending multiple years in an extramarital relationship with him. She has chosen to remain anonymous, and Walker has denied all allegations.
While one would expect Walker to lose his credibility after this debacle, he garnered so many votes in the November 2022 midterm race that there will be a runoff election between him and Reverend Warnock on December 6, 2022.
Right-wing belief surrounding the pro-life movement is inherently hypocritical because it seemingly counteracts the party’s stances against universal healthcare, comprehensive sex-ed, and gun control, a dichotomy that was principally brought to light by Walker’s candidacy.
Why does this inconsistency matter? Trustworthy candidates and genuine representatives are important to democracy. The minuscule margin between Walker and Warnock shows that these important values are not shared by right-wing Americans, who appear to have inconsistent policy viewpoints, and thereby elect subsequently inconsistent politicians — at least in Georgia. Regardless of political affiliation, one should be concerned about a candidate claiming to have abilities in the field of representation when they cannot own up to their past.