What’s up with Reverend Raphael Warnock and puppies?
Politicians know how voters feel about dogs
You can try to deny it all you want, but there is something extra adorable about a politician fluffing the head of a dog. Honestly, it doesn’t even have to be someone running for office. Do Michael B. Jordan, Jesse Williams, Noah Centineo and Keanu Reeves not look even more engaging while they’re cooing over a bunch of puppies?
Pet lovers will “get” this tactic in a way that those who aren’t into animals won’t, but it certainly doesn’t hurt anything to give a thumbs up to pups anymore than talking sports or favorite vacation spots. For this reason alone, I understand why Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is running for the Georgia Senate, came out with a humorous political ad and gave one dog a moment to shine, too.
Depending on the politician, governmental ads can get downright nasty — or just plain delusional. So I think it’s smart tactics to start off with a political ad that is as equally entertaining as it is a wee bit snarky. And with two Senate seats on the line (and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker — according to Article I, Section 3, Clause 4, of the United States Constitution — assuming all votes are along party lines), if Senate Democrats and President-Elect Joe Biden want to be able to make any political progress, these two senatorial seats are going to need (almost) as much attention as the presidential election did.
Call it “fishing for compliments” to bring out the dogs, but it’s not uncommon for politicians to do it anyway. When primary election voters saw Senator Elizabeth Warren, we also saw Bailey (Labrador Retriever) — with or without a burrito. Former President Barack H. Obama made people with pet allergies rethink their anti-pet decision, after seeing Bo and Sunny (Portuguese Water Dogs) trotting around. Biden supporters have probably seen Major and Champ (German Shepherds) by now, too. From cats to raccoons, politicians are no stranger to four-legged animals in their households.
I could dance around the issue, but I won’t. White people unapologetically love dogs, and Warnock will need a diverse group of Georgia voters to win this election. But don’t sleep on black dog owners either because there are some black dog owners who are just as proud to be pet parents. What Warnock is doing is both good political strategy (disarming those who are skeptical of him and making him into the “everyday” guy) and showing how he can rise above the usual petty and pointless attack ads that opponents will often show.
I have no dog in this race (pun intended). I cannot vote in Georgia, but I have enough family and friends there to be fairly confident that I know who they’ll vote for. However, as a non-Georgia voter, I was still curious whether the man who was endorsed by Obama would be worth my vote if I had the chance.
Yes, I love these yard signs and seeing more of him with dog pics. I still haven’t figured out whether he owns a dog, but that’s neither here nor there.
What speaks volumes for me as a Warnock supporter is:
- He was willing to get arrested for Medicaid expansion.
- He has support from the likes of women business owners (ex. Laura Heery, also a dog lover).
- He is unafraid to bring up coronavirus numbers, as well as how African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- He is supportive of reproductive health and is backed by women’s health organizations I believe in.
- He’s a fellow HBCU student and a Morehouse man, who supports student loan and forgiveness programs.
- He is someone who understands the counterproductive and dangerous system that mass incarceration has come to be.
As an enthusiastic voter for 20 years, I was laser-focused on the U.S. election and getting Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) back into office. I hadn’t paid much attention to Georgia — until the battleground state run-off. He caught my attention because of the dog, but now my attention is steadily on him for all of the other things he stands for, too. January cannot come soon enough.
Georgia voters, check your voter status here. Federal voter registration is Dec. 7, and you can register here. Vote in person on January 5, or participate in early voting on Dec. 14. If you want an absentee ballot (again), click here to request one and access the online ballot request portal. Election officials will start mailing the ballots out this week around Nov. 18. Good luck!