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Jonathan Bernstein

Republicans Haven’t Solved Their Herschel Walker Problem

The party’s obsession with phony scandals deters strong candidates from running and undermines lawmakers with serious policy goals.

Hard to win, hard to govern.

Hard to win, hard to govern.

Photographer: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

For a non-negligible minority of Americans, the biggest political story of the moment isn’t who won last night’s runoff in Georgia. It’s the supposed conspiracy to suppress the truth about corrupt business dealings by President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

The crusade against the younger Biden is easy to dismiss as yet another trumped up narrative designed to keep Fox News viewers engaged. But the continued obsession with fringe theories and paranoid claims helps explain why Republicans have wound up with so many embarrassing and unsuccessful candidates, culminating in the defeat Tuesday of Senate hopeful Herschel Walker in his attempt to unseat Democrat Raphael Warnock.