Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Democrats are scared of Herschel Walker because if he unseats Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, “that means we’re not racist.”
By “we,” he meant the GOP.
“If you’re a Republican, aren’t you tired of being called a racist all the time by everybody?” Graham also asked in his speech boosting the Republican hopeful.
Murray State University historian Brian Clardy, who is Black, dismissed Graham’s claim that Walker’s candidacy proves the GOP isn’t racist as “laughable to start with.”
The history professor didn’t mince words. “I’m going to come right out and say the thing that most people don’t want to say. Herschel Walker is a useful Negro. That’s all he is.
“He knows nothing of substance. The man can barely find a coherent sentence with both hands, a flashlight, or a pickaxe. He is window dressing.”
Clardy said Graham’s statement “amplifies the fact that the Republican Party has gone full-bore racist.”
Walker reminds Clardy of Alan Keyes, an African American Republican conservative, diplomat, and perennial candidate. He was popular in the party, especially during the Reagan era. “They used to trot him out to ‘prove’ that same racist trope: ‘We’ve got one of them. One of them represents us. We have colored friends; therefore we’re not racist.”
Added Clardy: “If anything, what Sen. Graham said is the opposite of what the Republican Party has come to stand for. It’s not the party of Lincoln any more. It is the party of [former KKK grand wizard] David Duke, [Alabama's segregationist Democratic Gov.] George Wallace, and the far right.
“It’s the party of QAnon, of [white nationalist] Richard Spencer. The Republicans have put down the bullhorn. It is pure fog horn now.”
Clardy said that somebody ought to build a big, floodlit billboard and put on it the faces of Walker and other Black conservatives, including Kentucky Attorney Gen. Daniel Cameron. The caption would read “Brothers, you’re being used.”
“And they are,” said Clardy, a progressive Democrat who admits his politics leaned conservative and Republican in his youth. “Daniel Cameron is an empty suit, and he proved that in his handling of the Breonna Taylor case.”
Black conservatives like Walker and Cameron enable white racists to claim they’re not bigots because they support a Black candidate, according to Clardy. “They make the same claim in South Carolina when they vote for Sen. Tim Scott. Herschel Walker gives racists cover. Sadly, Daniel Cameron and Tim Scott are in the same category.”
Graham made similar remarks when he and Walker sat for a joint interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. The senator told the host: “He (Walker) changes the entire narrative of the left. We’re a party of racists, Sean – me and you are racists. The Republican Party is racist. Well, what happens when the Republican Party elects and nominates Herschel Walker, an African-American, Black Heisman Trophy winner, right? Olympian. It destroys the whole narrative.”
Comedian and Oscar-winning actor Whoopi Goldberg schooled Graham on The View. “Here's the thing you need to know, Lindsey – just because we see a Black person, does not mean we do monkey see, monkey do.
“And I’m sure that you don’t know how insulting that is, but let us just say to you, don’t ever say that again because you look ignorant as hell. Don’t do that.”
Graham also got instructed by Ja’han Jones, who writes the blog for The ReidOut, Joy Reid’s MSNBC show. “It’s ironic, ain’t it?” he suggested. “By Graham’s own admission, he and fellow conservatives, who frequently claim that discussions about race are inspired by nefarious political motives, are deliberately using Walker’s skin color for their own political gain. In his own words: to make them seem less racist.
“To be clear, this strategy has seemed quite obvious to me and many, many, many Black people. But stating it as plainly as Graham did is ill-advised for someone who claims his party could become a draw for a significant number of Black voters.
"Walker aside, most of us don’t like being props."
Graham also boasted to Hannity that Democrats are “scared to death of Herschel Walker because if Herschel Walker becomes a Republican, maybe every other young child in America of color might want to be a Republican.”
Jones didn't buy it.
“Black people have had more than half a century’s worth of experience with this modern, civil rights-averse iteration of the Republican Party, and have widely rejected it all the while. [Walker has] also spent several years appearing on Fox News, a platform popular among white nationalists and septuagenarians.
“Not quite the profile of a man popular among young Black folks.”
Even so, Jones suggested that Graham has provided “great insight” into the senator’s mind and into “the conceit of the GOP’s support for Walker,” whom Donald Trump endorsed. He added, “It’s easy to see how someone as cynical and simple-minded as Trump could conclude that putting up his own Black candidate would net his party similar success. Graham clearly thinks so.
"Were I invested in his and the GOP’s success, I’d advise him not to air those thoughts in public.
"Since I’m not ... have at it, Linds! Please tell me more!”