Friday July 22, 2022

Why Raphael Warnock should run for president in 2024

Why Raphael Warnock should run for president in 2024

Raphael Warnock

Bincheng Mao, Tribune News Service

Across the country, public trust in democratic institutions has eroded to its lowest point in recorded history. This full-blown crisis of confidence, fueled by constant partisan gridlock in Congress and baseless denials of election results, is putting our democracy in serious peril. Such an intense polarisation is laid bare once again in the aftermath of the Highland Park shooting on Independence Day. One side furiously demands more action on gun safety reforms, whereas the other side refuses to even acknowledge the validity of the anger and instead calls on people to “move on.”

To reverse this polarisation, we need a candidate who can transcend the climate of partisanship and vitriol on the national political scene and make a serious presidential run in 2024. This candidate should have a bold vision to unite the country, effective communications skills, unflinching integrity that reduces the leeway for negative campaigning, and a compelling personal story that inspires young people to become involved.

On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden is having a crisis of confidence within his own party as over 60% of Democrats want a new candidate in 2024. If the president chooses not to run, the most suitable person is someone like the Rev. Raphael Warnock — senior pastor at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church and the first-ever African American senator from Georgia. In his ongoing reelection campaign in Georgia, Warnock has exhibited the rare potential of transcending the national political atmosphere. As Democratic candidates across the nation face historically unfavorable political headwinds in this midterm election, Warnock is not only avoiding a rout but achieving a 10-percentage-point lead over his Trump-endorsed Republican opponent.

This stunning political performance by the Democratic senator in a Southern state did not come by mere happenstance. He has proactively challenged the Republican nominee, Herschel Walker, to three one-on-one debates, while refraining from indecent attacks on the campaign trail. This kind of confidence and sober judgment, combined with his persuasive skills, shows him prepared for a demanding presidential campaign.

Warnock’s record of working with Republicans in the Senate to pass legislation also shows his potential as a consensus candidate: someone who can bridge America’s political divide like few politicians have done recently.

When the Senate was considering a historic infrastructure and job creation bill in 2021, the Georgia Democrat reached across the aisle and collaborated with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to introduce the Cruz-Warnock amendment for interstate-highway funding. This amendment, later unanimously passed, helped rural communities in Georgia get access to more economic opportunities across the South through a new highway. It is no secret that Warnock and Cruz do not agree with each other often, but Warnock’s bipartisanship got a task done for ordinary people. This is the kind of leadership that will lower the temperature and start restoring unity in this country.

The practical case for Warnock as a strong presidential candidate also rests on his real prospect of winning the Democratic nomination. If President Biden doesn’t run, there will undoubtedly be Democrats to the left of Warnock in the primary. Nevertheless, it would be extremely difficult for any candidate to accuse Warnock of not being progressive enough when he is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. The place where King preached during the civil rights movement, Ebenezer Baptist Church embodies the promise of a progressive America. Warnock’s powerful story of rising from poverty as an African American in the South further enables the moderate legislator to stand a chance in the Democratic primary.

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