The weirdest, most problematic Senate race in the country is headed to extra innings as neither incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock or Republican challenger Herschel Walker managed to meet the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, which is now slated for early December.
I’ll spare you the proper analysis of vote totals, the rundown of how a tranche of voters from the whiter and wealthier northern tip of Fulton County helped Walker keep the race close and any discussion of nonsense theories about how a lack of turnout among Black voters—who showed up in overwhelming numbers in support of Warnock and Stacey Abrams—hurt the good reverend from Ebenezer Baptist Church. I won’t there, not because there’s not good exit poll data to pour over or because there aren’t political consultants willing to be quoted breaking down the race.
I won’t get into any of that because there’s only one good word to boil down this race’s results: triflin’.
How better to describe the fact that after months of Walker’s lies—that he’s in law enforcement, that he didn’t actually pay a woman who gave birth to one of his children to abort another one, about how many living children he actually has, and so may other mistruths that his own campaign staff stopped trusting him months ago—enough people were willing to put all of it aside in the name of a naked power grab? Before Tuesday night, when all the consultants and pundits still predicted “red wave” that never materialized, Warnock looked like the only person standing between the coalition of Trumpists, bigots, religious zealots and neo-fascists who currently make up the right flank of American politics, and control of Congress.
That was important to them because they wanted to prevent legislative action to codify the right to an abortion, to halt investigations into the former president’s role in the Jan. 6th riot and to ensure there’d never be any meaningful action on national police reform. They wanted those things more than they wanted competent representation in the Senate; in fact, they preferred representation of the incompetent stripe, someone who couldn’t be bothered with serious policy inquiry or interrogation of fact.
And so Walker it was, despite his lies, his unanswered-for allegations of domestic violence, his commitment to repeatedly denying racism and to keeping white folks who mean him no good feeling comfortable. It’s all triflin, and now, it’s a triflin’ we all have to put up with for a few more weeks, if not six the next six years if the re-vote goes his way.