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Cringey Lindsey Graham paints Herschel Walker as a token Black guy

The South Carolina senator couldn't help himself during an interview on Fox News, and admitted the superficial reason the GOP is backing Walker's campaign.


Optics, Lindsey. Optics

Let’s start with some quick advice: If you’re ever caught publicly snarling about how much social capital having a Black friend will buy you, stop and think. You’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. 

Someone should relay the message to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who could clearly use a few more Black friends and a bit of common sense. 

The South Carolina Republican appeared alongside Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker for a joint interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday, speaking (at times hollering) on Walker’s behalf. And in a cringeworthy diatribe attempting to dunk on Democrats, Graham portrayed Walker as the GOP’s token Black friend right in front of his face. 

Pointing his finger at Walker, Graham told Hannity that Walker “changes the entire narrative” that the GOP is a party of racists. 

“[W]hat happens when the Republican Party elects and nominates Herschel Walker, an African American, Black Heisman Trophy winner, right? Olympian. It destroys the whole narrative,” he claimed. 

In other words: "Look at what having this Black man around will do for us!" 

It’s ironic, ain’t it? 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.  

At another point, Graham claimed 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.”

I wouldn’t bet on 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. But aside from that, Walker is 60 years old. The last time he played a down of professional football was 25 years ago, and even then he was far past his prime. He's 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.

But all of this is great insight into the mind of Graham and the conceit of the GOP’s support for Walker. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Walker not long after the incumbent Democrat, Raphael Warnock, made history in 2021 by becoming Georgia’s first Black senator. 

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!