Would-be US politicians spend millions of dollars a year trying to figure out what voters want. Is it someone with a deep understanding of the issues that affect the electorate, who will work tirelessly to pass laws that will improve lives? A charming outsider who will cut through unending bureaucracy to get things done? A person with incredible empathy who can connect with anyone? Or maybe: a former football player who is, by his own admission, not very bright? Herschel Walker, a Senate candidate, is hoping it’s that last one.
Yes, in an inexplicable conversation with reporters on Friday about his upcoming debate with Senator Raphael Warnock, Walker said his prep entailed “Talking to the voters, talking to you.” He added: “You told me I gotta prepare, so I’m preparing. I’m this country boy, you know, I’m not that smart. And [Warnock’s] that preacher. He’s a smart man, wears these nice suits. So he’s going to show up there, embarrass me at the debate, October the 14th. And I’m just waiting, you know, I’ll show up, and I’m [going to] do my best.”
While some have postulated that Walker is attempting to lower the expectations for his performance, if he’d wanted to do that he could have simply stopped at “I’m this country boy…I’ll show up and I’m [going to] do my best.” Typically, a candidate does not want to literally tell voters, “I’m not that smart.” Especially when there has been a lot of evidence that that is very much the case.
A spokesperson for Walker later said that the candidate was obviously being sarcastic about his intelligence, and that the people who didn’t get that are clearly idiots. “It is a sad day when so many people in politics and the media don’t understand sarcasm,” Will Kiley declared, according to The Hill. “Herschel has been traveling across Georgia for over a year meeting the people and listening to their concerns. Herschel is going to be ready on October 14 in Savannah to debate Raphael Warnock, who has to stand there and explain his horrendous voting record to the people.”
While Walker has given voters a never-ending list of reasons not to vote for him—in addition to the remark about his intelligence, he’s also suggested that the jury is still out on evolution, admitted to domestic violence, and members of his own staff have reportedly called him a “pathological liar” who lies “like he’s breathing”—the Georgia race remains worrisomely close. Walker “is a terrible candidate, but so was Donald Trump,” Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster, recently told my colleague Chris Smith. “Regardless of how incompetent Walker is, how unprepared for the job, those MAGA Republicans are going to look at him and go, ‘He’s for our tribe.’”