JONATHAN CHAIT JUNE 15, 2010
I've been saying that one of the most important developments of the last year has been the entry into the Republican Party of activists and candidates who come from smaller, right-wing subcultures that were previously consigned to the political fringe. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has tended to cover this phenomenon as a series of "gaffes" rather than as the emergence of a coherent ideology. TPM, though, has been doing some terrific reporting. Here's Justin Elliot's report on Sharron Angle:
The key to understanding Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle may be the fact that she has not always been a Republican.
For at least six years in the 1990s before she held statewide elective office, Angle was a member of the little-known Independent American Party, a right-wing party that combines elements of Ron Paul's doctrinaire libertarianism -- pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-bureaucracy, pro-states' rights -- with Christian social conservatism and fear of the "North American Union" and other forms of "global government." The small party attracted considerable controversy in 1994 when it took out a newspaper ad titled "Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation," which suggested HIV could spread through the water.
Three members of the Independent American Party tell TPM that Angle, a Nye County, Nevada, school board member at the time, was an active member of the party in the 1990s. They say she only left the Independent American Party and became a Republican out of political expediency when she decided to seek a seat in the state assembly, to which she was elected in 1998.