Many of the issues plaguing Herschel Walker’s Senate candidacy have nothing to do with his rhetoric. It’s become obvious, for example, that the Georgia Republican knows effectively nothing about public affairs. Voters have also learned about allegations of domestic violence and other dangerous personal behavior. His failures as a businessman have also been well documented.
But Walker’s rhetoric clearly hasn’t helped matters.
Late last year, the first-time candidate tried to argue that the late-Rep. John Lewis was a senator who’d oppose the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We learned soon after that Walker had falsely claimed the FDA had approved an unproven “dry mist” mystery treatment for Covid-19. The Republican then said it was “totally unfair“ to ask for his opinion about the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Now, as HuffPost reported, Walker is rejecting evolution, too, suggesting the existence of apes casts doubt on modern biology.
“At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not? ... If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it,” Herschel said in an appearance at Sugar Hill Church in Georgia on Sunday. “Now you’re getting too smart for us, Herschel,” lead pastor Chuck Allen responded.
As most junior-high-school students know, evolutionary science does not tell us that humans “came from” apes. Rather, in reality, humans and apes share a common ancestor that’s now extinct. One need not earn advanced degrees to know this; it’s Biology 101.
What’s more, note how Walker said science accepted evolution “at one time,” as if such knowledge is a thing of the past. It’s not.
We’re reminded anew why the Georgian’s campaign team has tried to limit the retired football player’s public appearances and kept Walker “largely behind closed doors.”
As for whether a story like this is likely to hurt the GOP candidate’s campaign, the answer is probably no, at least not in the short term. After all, Walker is running in a Republican primary, and an astonishing percentage of Republican voters also reject evolutionary biology.
In fact, as recently as last year, Gallup released the results of a national survey on public confidence in science, and it showed GOP voters turning against science in large numbers: In 1975, 67 percent of Democratic voters expressed confidence in science, a number that increased to 79 percent last year. In contrast, in 1975, 72 percent of Republican voters expressed confidence in science, a number that collapsed to just 45 percent.
In other words, Walker’s rhetoric reinforces concerns that the guy just isn’t ready for prime time, but there’s no reason to assume this latest misstep will cost him GOP support.