Herschel Walker: I've never heard Trump say the election was stolen

He might be telling the truth. Maybe he hasn’t watched any television in the past 18 months.

Or opened a newspaper. Or turned on a radio.

Or used the Internet even once.

Lefties are calling Walker an idiot for saying this but I think the clip is more significant. It looks to me like a deliberate strategy on the part of Team Herschel.

Admittedly, not a great strategy.

Huh. Has Walker also missed the hundreds of Republican lawmakers who have tried to discredit the election, nearly all of them in the name of placating Trump and protecting their right flank?

At least 357 sitting Republican legislators in closely contested battleground states have used the power of their office to discredit or try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a review of legislative votes, records and official statements by The New York Times.

The tally accounts for 44 percent of the Republican legislators in the nine states where the presidential race was most narrowly decided. In each of those states, the election was conducted without any evidence of widespread fraud, leaving election officials from both parties in agreement on the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.

It’s even more curious that Walker wouldn’t have heard Trump claim the election was stolen given that he himself used to claim the election was stolen:

That was on the day of the insurrection, long before Walker became a candidate for Senate. Now that his name is on the ballot in a 50/50 state, though, he’s more philosophical. From an interview last month:

“I don’t know if there were problems with the 2020 election,” he replied. “What I do know is that, right now, I’m gonna win this seat, and, you know, everyone has complained, even Stacey Abrams complained that her race wasn’t fair. And I’ve heard a lot of people saying a lot of things. One thing that I gotta worry about right now, that I’m gonna have a fair election, that people can believe in our election when I run.” Complimenting Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump is famously working to defeat in his run for reelection, Walker said, “Because I think, one thing that, I give it to the governor, that he’s done is just with S.B. 202, securing the drop boxes now, requiring ID. That’s gonna be something that’s gonna be great for everyone right now. And that’s what I’m happy to see that’s going on.”

Sounds like he and his campaign have huddled and concluded that the race with Raphael Warnock will be tight, enough so that Walker can’t take any fringy positions that might spook swing voters. His great liability in the general election will be Democrats bombarding him with ads about his personal unfitness for office — Russian roulette, multiple personalities, domestic violence allegations, on and on. His Republican primary opponents have already pointed to some of those foibles in arguing that he can’t win in November. “If Herschel were to be the nominee, people who have endorsed him are going to have to explain why they got behind a guy who choked his wife unconscious and threatened shootouts with police. That would be … uncomfortable for them,” said the spokesman for one.

Walker can’t afford to give Democrats any more ammunition to argue that he’s too kooky to represent the state. There’s nothing he can do about his prior personal problems but he can at least stay away from “rigged election” paranoia.

There’s another factor. He and his team are obviously watching the other key Republican primaries in the state, knowing that they’ve become de facto referenda on the potency of “stop the steal” as a litmus test among Georgia Republicans. If Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger were being obliterated in the polls because of their “disloyalty” to Trump in 2020, Walker would be forced to support Trump’s “rigged election” narrative more emphatically. As it is, Kemp is en route to a shockingly comfortable victory in today’s gubernatorial primary and even Raffensperger stands a chance of winning his race, an unthinkable development given how he was vilified by Trumpers last year.

For cripes sake, Trump’s own running mate blew into town last night to campaign with Kemp and took a barely veiled shot at 45. “Elections are about the future. There are those who want to make this election about the past,” he said, politely declining to name any names.

Team Herschel is watching all of that and understandably wondering how it benefits them to double down on “stop the steal” at this point. Walker’s already hugely popular with MAGA voters, he’s vulnerable among swing voters, and the rigged-election obsession has faded for enough Georgia Republicans to send Kemp on to the general election despite Trump’s best efforts. You would think Walker and his campaign could come up with a better deflection than “Why, no, I’ve never heard Trump say anything about his election being stolen,” but the fact that they’re looking to deflect at all is proof of how much salience the issue has lost in Georgia.

But not all salience. Read this ominous Politico story about hard feelings stoked by Trump within the GOP lingering after the primaries. The party needs to be unified to beat Abrams and Warnock but it’s hard to imagine Trump or his proxies endorsing those who beat them. And maybe vice versa. “I don’t think that these Trump-endorsed candidates are going to show up at a unity rally, if they lose. And I don’t think [Attorney General] Chris Carr and Brad Raffensperger are going to show up at something like that, if they were to lose,” said one source. Gulp.