By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
Grab a history book and flip open the section on Black senators as Georgia voters prepare to line up again at voting precincts on Dec. 6 to elect a Black senator. They’ll be choosing between incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent Herschel Walker, in a runoff election.
Most history books will tell you it is not the first time Republicans have funded and supported an African American senatorial candidate. Senator Edward Brooke, for example, was a Republican from Massachusetts who served for over a decade in the US Senate for two terms from 1967 to 1979. But look closely at the date he was elected. He announced his candidacy in 1965 for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the retirement of Leverett Saltonstall. This means Brooke was elected to Congress about two years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed.
On Nov. 8, 1966, Brooke won 62 percent of the vote. Brooke served two full terms; but he often refused to sponsor legislation that would help African Americans advance during his tenure in Congress.
For example, civil rights leaders criticized his refusal to support a 1964 boycott that African American students organized to protest segregation in the Boston school system.
“I am not a civil rights leader, and I don’t profess to be,” Brooke said, at the time, according to the United States House of Representatives (History, Arts and Archives) website. “His moderate response to the proposed protest won him invaluable backing from many voters in the predominantly white state.”
The point is the parallels between Brooke and Walker should sound alarm bells and raise questions for people of color.
Question No. 1–Why was the former NFL’s Senate bid announced in Georgia about four years after Barack Obama left office in 2018– since Walker actually retired from the NFL in 1997 and dallied with ballet, tried Olympic bobsled, started a fast food restaurant and appeared on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” show?
Question No. 2–Why didn’t Walker immediately run for a seat in the U.S. Senate the year he retired? (Records show Republican Newt Gingrich was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995-1999).
One more quick question: The same demographic group that supported Brooke, the Black senator from Massachusetts, well, is this demographic group similar to the one that now supports Walker in Georgia?
A recent Fox News headline may shed light on this question: “Walker hauls in $3.3 million on first day of his new campaign.”
If Republicans are currently using old recycled strategies that aimed to slow the momentum of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, look at your calendar–notice it is 2022, not 1966.
Congressman Adam Schiff said in a recent fundraising email, “The control of the Senate could once again be decided in Georgia. And we have to do everything we can to ensure that the GOP doesn’t take the Senate.”
Schiff said, “Rev. Warnock just exhausted his campaign fundraising account fighting to the finish line against more than $30 million in Republican spending for Herschel Walker, and now he has to start from scratch in order to win this just-announced runoff election.” To make a donation via cash or credit card–go to ADAMSCHIFF.com or contact ADAMSCHIFF.COM.
Since history never moves backward, Black Democrats should reflect on the underperforming example Brooke set in the 1960’s and donate to Warnock’s campaign in 2022.