ATLANTA — Senator Raphael Warnock, basking in cheers of “six more years” and the glory of a hard-fought re-election victory, evoked the martyrs and heroes of the civil rights movement late Tuesday night as he praised Georgians, whether they voted for him or not, for rising above the “folks trying to divide our country.”
In a contest that pitted Mr. Warnock’s calls for the healing of racial inequities against Herschel Walker’s view that racism does not exist, the Democratic senator’s victory speech was unapologetic in its evocation of past wrongs in the Deep South, even as he held out the promise of reconciliation.
“I am Georgia,” the senator proclaimed, recalling the small towns, cotton farms and growing cities of his childhood in the nation’s newest political battleground. “I am an example and an iteration of its history, of its peril and promise, of the brutality and the possibilities. But because this is America, because we always have a path to make our country greater against unspeakable odds, here we stand together.”
He uttered what he called the four most powerful words in a democracy: “The people have spoken.”
And to Republicans who have said the remarkable turnout in the general election and the runoff showed the absence of any voter suppression, Mr. Warnock disagreed.
“Just because people endured long lines that wrapped around buildings, some blocks long, just because they endured the rain and the cold and all kinds of tricks in order to vote,” he said, “doesn’t mean that voter suppression does not exist. It simply means that you, the people, have decided that your voices will not be silenced.”