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Team Normal Is Doing It Again

When it feels icky they’ll dish out another anonymous quote.
July 11, 2022
Team Normal Is Doing It Again
Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for US Senate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally on May 23, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. Tomorrow is the Primary Election Day in the state of Georgia. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Herschel Walker is, by any measure, a flawed candidate. It’s a fact readily observable to anyone with a basic familiarity with his confessed history of self-harm, acts of violence against others, whack-a-doodle beliefs, and steady stream of lies about his supposed academic and business achievements.

Walker was audacious enough to lie to his aides about the secret children he fathered, even when they confronted him with irrefutable evidence of paternity.

But what those aides did in response is telling: They didn’t quit. Instead, they vented to the Daily Beast about what a “pathological liar” Walker is and how the campaign is “like a shitshow on a train in the middle of a wreck.”

Anonymously, of course. Chalk another one up for “Team Normal.”

Just as they did with former President Trump, instead of letting voters see Walker for who he really is, the professional Republican class is devoting itself to coddling the candidate and covering up for him. And when it gets too icky, they dish quotes to their favorite reporters to make themselves feel better about their life choices. These people aren’t stupid enough to believe that their candidates are fit for office; they’re just trying to trick voters into being that dumb.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee recently deployed their A-team to Georgia on a “rescue mission” to save Walker from himself. This came after a team of senators banded together to personally tutor Walker on policy issues. All of whom seem to be operating under the illusion that Walker, with the right people around him and proper guard rails in place, can be steered in the right direction.

You may have heard that line before somewhere?

But the really crazy part is that if you go down the list of Republican midterm candidates, it’s possible that Walker isn’t even the most problematic.

In the Senate class, there’s Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania-by-way-of-North Jersey. In Ohio, there’s the Silicon Valley oligarch–backed, Hollywood-famous, Marjorie Taylor Greene–hugging James David Vance. In Wisconsin, there’s Senator Ron “Can’t Keep His False Electors Story Straight” Johnson.

In Missouri, the scandal-a-minute, disgraced ex-Governor Eric Greitens may well clinch the nomination. (He recently aired an ad featuring himself wielding a gun to go “RINO hunting.”) And, in Arizona, Blake Masters is cruising in the polls. This clean-cut young fellow—besides also being backed by the same Silicon Valley oligarch as Vance—likes to rehash conspiracy theories on LewRockwell.com. Also, he’s speculated that January 6 was a false flag operation, stated that “I think Trump won in 2020,” and floated the belief that “black people, frankly” are responsible for gun violence.

The gubernatorial field isn’t much better! Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee not only attended Trump’s January 6 rally but used campaign funds to bus participants to it before attempting to bring an Arizona-style audit to his state. He has made plans to rig the next election a central feature of his candidacy. Ditto for the woman who hasn’t met a political opponent she wouldn’t threaten to jail, Arizona’s Kari Lake, who continues to lead the polls in her primary.


If you want to look on the sunny side, there are a few counter signs. Governor Brian Kemp, who refused to cave to Trump’s demands he “find the votes” in Georgia, trounced his Trump-backed challenger. As did Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

And a group of Republicans recently formed a super PAC in Pennsylvania to oppose Mastriano and support Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor.

Which is nice. Except that those efforts are outliers which happened independently of Team Normal.

Team Normal is still in the MAGA bunker—doing their work, deepening their messiah complexes. They don’t care if their lying, no-good candidates turn out to be election-denying cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs monsters. They did it once and everything worked out fine. The republic didn’t fall. They got their Supreme Court justices and their Dobbs verdict. So now they’re doing it again.

And if it all goes sideways this time? Well, you can be sure that the members of Team Normal stand ready to rush into the breach and give some juicy quotes about how terrible everything is to reporters.

As long as it’s on background.

Amanda Carpenter

Bulwark political columnist Amanda Carpenter is a CNN contributor, author, and former communications director to Sen. Ted Cruz and speechwriter to Sen. Jim DeMint.