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ICYMI: The Youngkin playbook won’t work for Herschel Walker (Opinion) [Washington Post]

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Washington Post: The Youngkin playbook won’t work for Herschel Walker (Opinion)
By Jennifer Rubin
November 29, 2021

Key Points:

  • As CNN reported: “In Georgia, Trump has wholeheartedly endorsed former football star Herschel Walker for Senate, even though he’s faced allegations of threatening multiple women over the span of a decade.
  • Trump’s pick for Pennsylvania’s Senate primary, Sean Parnell, also lost a public custody fight for his children and then dropped out of the race after his ex-wife accused him of domestic violence.
  • These Trump-backed candidates are a far cry from the amiable family man and business tycoon that Glenn Youngkin presented himself as… [Youngkin’s] approach cannot work if the candidate has serious personal flaws.
  • A warning to Republicans hoping to win back the Senate majority: Trump’s picks have not been vetted for character.
  • Playing the “Youngkin playbook” may therefore be near impossible for many Republican candidates.
  • Herschel Walker is a case in point. Only in today’s GOP… could such a candidate get the backing of a former president and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who momentarily expressed discomfort with Walker before caving to Trump.
  • One of Walker’s primary opponents, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, called Walker’s background “disqualifying.”
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month: “I do not believe that this type of behavior that Herschel admitted to is going to outweigh the damage and the horror of the abuse of women,” he said, later questioning how the GOP can ask “women or anyone else” to vote for Walker.
  • Walker, a novice candidate, has predictably avoided the mainstream media. But that tactic has not helped him avoid devastating criticism for fanning the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.
  • His evasive campaigning also failed to shield him from blistering condemnation after he failed to immediately condemn the use of a swastika in the Twitter profile of a supporter who was hosting a fundraiser for him.
  • General election voters — especially women — may find Trump’s picks repugnant.
  • The damage may not be limited to a few races. Democrats might construct a credible narrative that Republicans’ history of cheerleading for violence or horrible treatment of women make the entire party unfit to govern.
  • In the wake of the Parnell debacle and the Gosar censure, might McConnell be having second thoughts about knuckling under to Trump? Complying with the MAGA leader’s direction on candidate selection just might cost McConnell a shot at regaining the Senate — a fitting penalty for the party’s Senate “leader” who never could lead his caucus to definitively reject the instigator of a violent insurrection. 

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