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Jonathan Bernstein

Why Republicans Wound Up With Herschel Walker

Both right-wing media and divided party leadership are to blame.

Weak candidates.

Weak candidates.

Photographer: Megan Varner/Getty Images

We don’t know whether the latest scandals involving Herschel Walker — a claim that he paid for a past girlfriend to have an abortion and accusations of abuse made by his adult son — will cost the football hero the Georgia Senate election. Whatever the outcome of that contest, the chaos of the Walker candidacy highlights the dysfunction of the current Republican Party. 

Walker’s problems are an extreme case, but he is far from the only deeply flawed Republican candidate for office this fall. In fact, up and down the ballot, and across the nation from Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano to Arizona Senate aspirant Blake Masters to Michigan congressional contender John Gibbs, Republicans have nominated candidates who were unvetted, inexperienced or had extreme views.