The even sadder thing is, the person who thought that may have been right. If, of course, your definition of “smart” is whatever wins an election, even if along the way you’re destroying America.
Unfortunately, one of the things wrong with our republic these days is that it’s full of people who think that way. Using the term “think” loosely, of course.
Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post‘s coverage on this:
A highly anticipated debate is scheduled next month in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, and Republican nominee Hershel Walker is already trying to downplay expectations for his performance.
“I’m a country boy. I’m not that smart,” Walker told reporters Friday on a campaign stop in Savannah, Ga., according to an account from the Savannah Morning News.
Walker, a former football star, also noted that his opponent, Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), is a preacher.
Warnock “is smart and wears these nice suits,” Walker said. “So, he is going to show up and embarrass me at the debate October 14th, and I’m just waiting to show up, and I will do my best.”
In a healthy representative democracy, a candidate who actually realizes he’s not as smart as his opponent bows out and lets the opponent have it — unless the opponent possesses significant character flaws. In which case you talk about the character flaws, rather than your own inadequacy. (Or you emphasize policy differences — although for a smarter person to be advocating worse policies than your own, he would have to possess the aforementioned character flaws.)
But as we all saw in 2016 and have been painfully reminded many times since, we no longer live in a healthy representative democracy.
So it is that someone in Mr. Walker’s campaign thought it would smart for him to admit he’s not smart. There’s nothing new about lowering expectations before a debate of course, but something like this lowers that old tactic to new depths.
Because in today’s sick politics, you can win by convincing people you’re the dumb guy (which, in Mr. Walker’s case, would not be difficult), and proud of it. Or the outrageously cruel guy, if you’re Ron DeSantis.
Of course, the person who devised this strategy would say Mr. Walker is just stressing his identification with Mr. Average. Hence the stuff about the opponent’s “nice suits.” Which means, of course, that the strategist openly believes Mr. Average is dumb, and likes being pandered to.
Which is something that works, a lot of the time.
I think some of y’all wonder sometimes why I have such a low opinion of populism. It’s because for our country’s entire history, it’s always had a close relationship with anti-intellectualism, in both its sincere and exploitative manifestations…