US Midterms: In Person and Absentia, Warnock-Walker Tensions Mount

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Libertarian challenger Chase Oliver took the stage Sunday night for the second Georgia Senate debate, with Republican Herschel Walker declining to attend and represented by an empty podium.

US Midterms: In Person and Absentia, Warnock-Walker Tensions Mount
Image credit: nytimes

Facts

  • Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Libertarian challenger Chase Oliver took the stage Sunday night for the second Georgia Senate debate, with Republican Herschel Walker declining to attend and represented by an empty podium.
  • On Friday, Warnock and Walker squared off in a high-profile debate that featured a highly-publicized moment when Walker showed an alleged sheriff's badge. The moment drew ire from Democrats and an admonishment by the moderator, but Walker staunchly defended the move as a show of support for law enforcement.
  • Despite Walker's absence Sunday, Warnock took aim at his GOP opponent's personal life, business prowess, and academic success, even accusing him of having a "well-documented history of violence" against his ex-wife. In absentia, Walker's campaign derided Sunday's debate as a “one-sided sham."
  • Warnock previously limited more personal attacks to TV ads, where his campaign and other Democratic groups have spent millions on anti-Walker messaging. On Sunday, however, Warnock accused Walker of fabricating stories of college graduation and starting a "business that doesn't even exist."
  • On Sunday, Libertarian candidate Oliver took aim at both the two-party system and Walker, saying "I owe no allegiance to either party" and that he can better "articulate the message of small government" than Walker.
  • Despite having virtually no chance of winning, Oliver's presence in the race is potentially influential, as Georgia law requires a candidate to gain 50% plus one vote to win. If Oliver can take enough from his opponents, it would force Walker and Warnock into a runoff.

Sources: FOX News, CNN, New York Times, and Omaha.

Narratives

  • Democratic narrative, as provided by Washington Post. Herschel Walker has been allowed to get away with a tremendous amount throughout this campaign, which is the only reason voters might think he's an acceptable candidate. His lies about his personal life, dangerous views on policy, and inability to coherently explain his perspectives should send him as far away from the Senate as possible.
  • Republican narrative, as provided by Daily Caller. Instead of ridiculing Walker with ad-hominem attacks, Warnock would be better served to answer for families his church allegedly evicted during the pandemic. Democrats only pretend to care about the working class, and Raphael Warnock is no different - he votes with Biden 96% of the time and the hard-working people of Georgia deserve better.
  • Libertarian narrative, as provided by Omaha. Chase Oliver can disrupt this nationally high-profile race, which is refreshing for US politics. His coherent messaging on small government and free markets is better crafted than Walker's and more in line with many Georgia voters than Warnock's. It's about time that both parties had a wake-up call.