In 2021, Donald Trump came up with a diabolical idea to defeat Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock in the midterm election. Trump believed that Warnock could be defeated by a Republican who had no political experience, but was once viewed as a sports hero in Georgia. He called on Herschel Walker to run for the U.S. Senate.
“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the legendary Herschel Walker ran for the United States Senate in Georgia? He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL,” Trump said in a statement. “He is also a great person. Run, Herschel, run!”
Trump understood the dynamics of how celebrity could sway elections. Indeed, Trump himself benefited from being a celebrity in 2016 when he became President of the United States without any political experience.
However, Walker, similar to Trump, proved to be a problematic figure. Although Walker led the Georgia Bulldogs to a national championship in 1980, his life outside of sports was chaotic.
In 2008, he revealed in a book that he suffered from mental illness and had a history of violent behavior. He was diagnosed in 2001 with dissociative identity disorder. The disorder causes those who have it to alternate between multiple identities and have gaps in memory of everyday events.” It notes men with the disorder “exhibit more violent behavior rather than amnesia.”
In his book, Walker also said he was suicidal and once put a gun to his head in 1991. There were also moments of violence such as his ex-wife revealing that he pointed a gun at her head and told her, “I’m going to blow your f—g brains out.”
Leaders in the Republican Party knew all of this information, but they still supported Walker in his run for the U.S. Senate because they desperately wanted the seat in Georgia.
During his run for the Senate, Walker’s campaign quickly became a farce. Most of Walker’s speeches went viral, not because of his policy, but due to multiple non-sensical remarks. The zany speeches reached its peak with Walker’s perplexing rant about being a vampire or werewolf. It became a viral joke on social media and even Barack Obama took a jab at Walker for the comments.
“Since the last time I was here Mr. Walker has been talking about issues that are of great importance to the people of Georgia. Like whether it’s better to be a vampire or a werewolf,” Obama said, referring to Walker’s recent rant about vampires and werewolves. “This is a debate that I must confess I once had myself. When I was seven. Then I grew up.”
Walker also lied about being in law enforcement by showing off a fake sheriff’s badge during the single debate against Warnock. And although Walker ran on being anti-abortion, several women came forward and claimed that he paid for their abortions.
But Republicans continued to ignore Walker’s mishaps and supported his run. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz came to Atlanta to campaign for Walker. Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp also supported Walker. Trump supported Walker from afar as he was urged to not come to Georgia. It was also discovered that several of Republicans raised money for Walker only to keep the majority of the funds.
Any of Walker’s proposed plans were drowned out by his erratic behavior.
The Republican’s desperation for the U.S. Senate was unfair to Walker and proves that the party is influx as it continues to search for an identity post-Trump.