But, Cawthorn might have pulled ahead, since he has now started spreading lies about Senate candidate Raphael Warnock just as early voting has begun for Warnock's run-off race against Kelly Loeffler in Georgia. On Fox News this morning, the Republican newcomer from North Carolina accused Warnock of being a fake Southerner and more.
“If we cede control of our Senate and really all of Washington, D.C. to the Democrats, it’s not going to represent the values of my home, North Carolina, and certainly not the values of Georgia, and the values of most of the people in the United States of America,” Cawthorn said, adding: “You see this Warnock fella who’s coming down here and disguising himself as some moderate pastor from the South who doesn’t believe in these radical ideas, but if you look at him really, what he actually believes, he is a radical’s radical. He wants to defund our police. He says he’s a pastor, yet he’s all about abortion. This is somebody who does not represent what real Americans believe.”
Drawing from a long history of coded racist language about “outside agitators” and “American values,” Cawthorn's accusations against Warnock were dog whistles to white supremacy. Cawthorn’s statements imply that Warnock — a Black man who’s been a leader in his community for almost as long as the new Congress-member elect has even been alive — is an imposter. But they also echo the birtherism conspiracy around President Barack Obama, which was perpetuated by Donald Trump before he was president. Who is a “real American” exactly, Cawthorn? And what do they believe? And, perhaps more important to you, what do they look like?
Cawthorn also took care to misrepresent Warnock’s views and platform by perpetuating the lies that Warnock supports defunding the police and that being pro-choice is proof that he's not a legitimate Christian. Warnock has explicitly said he does not support defunding the police. Although Warnock did speak about abortion at a debate on December 6, saying he’s pro-choice, this is not a particularly radical view for a Democrat. While not necessarily typical for a Christian leader, being pro-choice aligns with the Democratic platform.
But all of this, as usual, is just a guise to make the right angry about “outsiders” taking what’s “theirs.” The “we” that Cawthorn is talking about protecting and keeping in power, of course, is a reference to white supremacists and racists who want to keep Black politicians and leaders out of power. By using coded language and calling Warnock an imposter and a radical, Cawthorn is signaling to white supremacists that there’s a cultural war they must constantly be fighting while also insinuating that Warnock is too dangerous to elect to the Senate.
Like many Republicans, though, Cawthorn simply doesn't have the facts on his side. Raphael Warnock was born and raised in Savannah, GA, and went to college at Morehouse in Atlanta; he is a pastor and a leader from the South who isn’t disguising himself as anything, and shouldn't have to defend himself from spurious claims — just like Obama had to do against Trump's birther movement so many years ago.